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Title: Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 01: the Hudson and its hills
Author: Skinner, Charles M. (Charles Montgomery), 1852-1907
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 01: the Hudson and its hills" ***

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                           MYTHS AND LEGENDS
                              OUR OWN LAND

                           Charles M. Skinner

                                Vol. 1.

                        THE HUDSON AND ITS HILLS



Rip Van Winkle
Catskill Gnomes
The Catskill Witch
The Revenge of Shandaken
Condemned to the Noose
Big Indian
The Baker's Dozen
The Devil's Dance-Chamber
The Culprit Fay
Anthony's Nose
Moodua Creek
A Trapper's Ghastly Vengeance
The Vanderdecken of Tappan Zee
The Galloping Hessian
Storm Ship on the Hudson
Why Spuyten Duyvil is so Named
The Ramapo Salamander
Chief Croton
The Retreat from Mahopac
The Deformed of Zoar
Kayuta and Waneta
The Drop Star
The Prophet of Palmyra
A Villain's Cremation
The Monster Mosquito
The Green Picture
The Nuns of Carthage
The Skull in the Wall
The Haunted Mill
Old Indian Face
The Division of the Saranacs
An Event in Indian Park
The Indian Plume
Birth of the Water-Lily
Rogers's Slide
The Falls at Cohoes
Francis Woolcott's Night-Riders
Polly's Lover
Crosby, the Patriot Spy
The Lost Grave of Paine
The Rising of Gouverneur Morris


Dolph Heyliger
The Knell at the Wedding
Roistering Dirck Van Dara
The Party from Gibbet Island
Miss Britton's Poker
The Devil's Stepping-Stones
The Springs of Blood and Water
The Crumbling Silver
The Cortelyou Elopement
Van Wempel's Goose
The Weary Watcher
The Rival Fiddlers
Mark of the Spirit Hand
The First Liberal Church


The Phantom Dragoon
Delaware Water Gap
The Phantom Drummer
The Missing Soldier of Valley Forge
The Last Shot at Germantown
A Blow in the Dark
The Tory's Conversion
Lord Percy's Dream
Saved by the Bible
Parricide of the Wissahickon
The Blacksmith at Brandywine
Father and Son
The Envy of Manitou
The Last Revel in Printz Hall
The Two Rings
Flame Scalps of the Chartiers
The Consecration of Washington


The Snoring of Swunksus
The Lewiston Hermit
The Dead Ship of Harpswell
The Schoolmaster had not reached Orrington
Jack Welch's Death Light
Mogg Megone
The Lady Ursula
Father Moody's Black Veil
The Home of Thunder
The Partridge Witch
The Marriage of Mount Katahdin
The Moose of Mount Kineo
The Owl Tree
A Chestnut Log
The Watcher on White Island
Passaconaway's Ride to Heaven
The Ball Game by the Saco
The White Mountains
The Vision on Mount Adams
The Great Carbuncle
Skinner's Cave
Yet they call it Lover's Leap
Salem and other Witchcraft
The Gloucester Leaguers
Satan and his Burial-Place
Peter Rugg, the Missing Man
The Loss of Weetamoo
The Fatal Forget-me-not
The Old Mill at Somerville
Edward Randolph's Portrait
Lady Eleanore's Mantle
Howe's Masquerade
Old Esther Dudley
The Loss of Jacob Hurd
The Hobomak
Berkshire Tories
The Revenge of Josiah Breeze
The May-Pole of Merrymount
The Devil and Tom Walker
The Gray Champion
The Forest Smithy
Wahconah Falls
Knocking at the Tomb
The White Deer of Onota
Wizard's Glen
Balanced Rock
The Salem Alchemist
Eliza Wharton
Sale of the Southwicks
The Courtship of Myles Standish
Mother Crewe
Aunt Rachel's Curse
Nix's Mate
The Wild Man of Cape Cod
Newbury's Old Elm
Samuel Sewall's Prophecy
The Shrieking Woman
Agnes Surriage
Skipper Ireson's Ride
Heartbreak Hill
Harry Main: The Treasure and the Cats
The Wessaguscus Hanging
The Unknown Champion
Goody Cole
General Moulton and the Devil
The Skeleton in Armor
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
Love and Treason
The Headless Skeleton of Swamptown
The Crow and Cat of Hopkins Hill
The Old Stone Mill
Origin of a Name
Micah Rood Apples
A Dinner and its Consequences
The New Haven Storm Ship
The Windham Frogs
The Lamb of Sacrifice
Moodus Noises
Haddam Enchantments
Block Island and the Palatine
The Buccaneer
Robert Lockwood's Fate
Love and Rum


The Swim at Indian Head
The Moaning Sisters
A Ride for a Bride
Spooks of the Hiawassee
Lake of the Dismal Swamp
The Barge of Defeat
Natural Bridge
The Silence Broken
Siren of the French Broad
The Hunter of Calawassee
Revenge of the Accabee
Toccoa Falls
Two Lives for One
A Ghostly Avenger
The Wraith Ringer of Atlanta
The Swallowing Earthquake
The Last Stand of the Biloxi
The Sacred Fire of Natchez
Pass Christian
The Under Land


An Averted Peril
The Obstinacy of Saint Clair
The Hundredth Skull
The Crime of Black Swamp
The House Accursed
Marquette's Man-Eater
Michel de Coucy's Troubles
Wallen's Ridge
The Sky Walker of Huron
The Coffin of Snakes
Lake Superior Water Gods
The Witch of Pictured Rocks
The Origin of White Fish
The Spirit of Cloudy
The Sun Fire at Sault Sainte Marie
The Snake God of Belle Isle
Were-Wolves of Detroit
The Escape of Francois Navarre
The Old Lodger
The Nain Rouge
Two Revenges
The Indian Messiah
The Vision of Rescue
Devil's Lake
The Keusca Elopement
The Virgins' Feast
Falls of St. Anthony
Flying Shadow and Track Maker
Saved by a Lightning-Stroke
The Killing of Cloudy Sky
Providence Hole
The Scare Cure
Twelfth Night at Cahokia
The Spell of Creve Coeur Lake
How the Crime was Revealed
Banshee of the Bad Lands
Standing Rock
The Salt Witch


Over the Divide
The Phantom Train of Marshall Pass
The River of Lost Souls
Riders of the Desert
The Division of Two Tribes
Besieged by Starvation
A Yellowstone Tragedy
The Broad House
The Death Waltz
The Flood at Santa Fe
Goddess of Salt
The Coming of the Navajos
The Ark on Superstition Mountains
The Pale Faced Lightning
The Weird Sentinel at Squaw Peak
Sacrifice of the Toltecs
Ta-Vwots Conquers the Sun
The Comanche Rider
Horned Toad and Giants
The Spider Tower
The Lost Trail
A Battle in the Air


The Voyager of the Whulge
Tamanous of Tacoma
The Devil and the Dalles
Cascades of the Columbia
The Death of Umatilla
Hunger Valley
The Wrath of Manitou
The Spook of Misery Hill
The Queen of Death Valley
Bridal Veil Fall
The Governor's Right Eye
The Prisoner in American Shaft


Kidd's Treasure
Other Buried Wealth



It is unthinkingly said and often, that America is not old enough to have
developed a legendary era, for such an era grows backward as a nation
grows forward. No little of the charm of European travel is ascribed to
the glamour that history and fable have flung around old churches,
castles, and the favored haunts of tourists, and the Rhine and Hudson are
frequently compared, to the prejudice of the latter, not because its
scenery lacks in loveliness or grandeur, but that its beauty has not been
humanized by love of chivalry or faerie, as that of the older stream has
been. Yet the record of our country's progress is of deep import, and as
time goes on the figures seen against the morning twilight of our history
will rise to more commanding stature, and the mists of legend will invest
them with a softness or glory that shall make reverence for them
spontaneous and deep. Washington hurling the stone across the Potomac may
live as the Siegfried of some Western saga, and Franklin invoking the
lightnings may be the Loki of our mythology. The bibliography of American
legends is slight, and these tales have been gathered from sources the
most diverse: records, histories, newspapers, magazines, oral
narrative--in every case reconstructed. The pursuit of them has been so
long that a claim may be set forth for some measure of completeness.

But, whatever the episodes of our four historic centuries may furnish to
the poet, painter, dramatist, or legend-building idealist of the future,
it is certain that we are not devoid of myth and folk-lore. Some
characters, prosaic enough, perhaps, in daily life, have impinged so
lightly on society before and after perpetrating their one or two great
deeds, that they have already become shadowy and their achievements have
acquired a color of the supernatural. It is where myth and history
combine that legend is most interesting and appeals to our fancy or our
sympathy most strongly; and it is not too early for us to begin the
collation of those quaint happenings and those spoken reports that gain
in picturesqueness with each transmission. An attempt has been made in
this instance to assemble only legends, for, doubtful as some historians
profess to find them, certain occurrences, like the story of Captain
Smith and Pocahontas, and the ride of General Putnam down Breakneck
Stairs, are taught as history; while as to folk-lore, that of the Indian
tribes and of the Southern negro is too copious to be recounted in this
work. It will be noted that traditions do not thrive in brick and
brownstone, and that the stories once rife in the colonial cities have
almost as effectually disappeared as the architectural landmarks of last
century. The field entered by the writer is not untrodden. Hawthorne and
Irving have made paths across it, and it is hoped that others may deem
its farther exploration worthy of their efforts.



The story of Rip Van Winkle, told by Irving, dramatized by Boucicault,
acted by Jefferson, pictured by Darley, set to music by Bristow, is the
best known of American legends. Rip was a real personage, and the Van
Winkles are a considerable family at this day. An idle, good-natured,
happy-go-lucky fellow, he lived, presumably, in the village of Catskill,
and began his long sleep in 1769. His wife was a shrew, and to escape her
abuse Rip often took his dog and gun and roamed away to the Catskills,
nine miles westward, where he lounged or hunted, as the humor seized him.
It was on a September evening, during a jaunt on South Mountain, that he
met a stubby, silent man, of goodly girth, his round head topped with a
steeple hat, the skirts of his belted coat and flaps of his petticoat
trousers meeting at the tops of heavy boots, and the face--ugh!--green
and ghastly, with unmoving eyes that glimmered in the twilight like
phosphorus. The dwarf carried a keg, and on receiving an intimation, in a
sign, that he would like Rip to relieve him of it, that cheerful vagabond
shouldered it and marched on up the mountain.

At nightfall they emerged on a little plateau where a score of men in the
garb of long ago, with faces like that of Rip's guide, and equally still
and speechless, were playing bowls with great solemnity, the balls
sometimes rolling over the plateau's edge and rumbling down the rocks
with a boom like thunder. A cloaked and snowy-bearded figure, watching
aloof, turned like the others, and gazed uncomfortably at the visitor who
now came blundering in among them. Rip was at first for making off, but
the sinister glare in the circle of eyes took the run out of his legs,
and he was not displeased when they signed to him to tap the keg and join
in a draught of the ripest schnapps that ever he had tasted,--and he knew
the flavor of every brand in Catskill. While these strange men grew no
more genial with passing of the flagons, Rip was pervaded by a satisfying
glow; then, overcome by sleepiness and resting his head on a stone, he
stretched his tired legs out and fell to dreaming.

Morning. Sunlight and leaf shadow were dappled over the earth when he
awoke, and rising stiffly from his bed, with compunctions in his bones,
he reached for his gun. The already venerable implement was so far gone
with rot and rust that it fell to pieces in his hand, and looking down at
the fragments of it, he saw that his clothes were dropping from his body
in rags and mould, while a white beard flowed over his breast. Puzzled
and alarmed, shaking his head ruefully as he recalled the carouse of the
silent, he hobbled down the mountain as fast as he might for the grip of
the rheumatism on his knees and elbows, and entered his native village.
What! Was this Catskill? Was this the place that he left yesterday? Had
all these houses sprung up overnight, and these streets been pushed
across the meadows in a day? The people, too: where were his friends? The
children who had romped with him, the rotund topers whom he had left
cooling their hot noses in pewter pots at the tavern door, the dogs that
used to bark a welcome, recognizing in him a kindred spirit of vagrancy:
where were they?

And his wife, whose athletic arm and agile tongue had half disposed him
to linger in the mountains how happened it that she was not awaiting him
at the gate? But gate there was none in the familiar place: an unfenced
yard of weeds and ruined foundation wall were there. Rip's home was gone.
The idlers jeered at his bent, lean form, his snarl of beard and hair,
his disreputable dress, his look of grieved astonishment. He stopped,
instinctively, at the tavern, for he knew that place in spite of its new
sign: an officer in blue regimentals and a cocked hat replacing the
crimson George III. of his recollection, and labelled "General
Washington." There was a quick gathering of ne'er-do-weels, of
tavern-haunters and gaping 'prentices, about him, and though their faces
were strange and their manners rude, he made bold to ask if they knew
such and such of his friends.

"Nick Vedder? He's dead and gone these eighteen years." "Brom Dutcher? He
joined the army and was killed at Stony Point." "Van Brummel? He, too,
went to the war, and is in Congress now."

"And Rip Van Winkle?"

"Yes, he's here. That's him yonder."

And to Rip's utter confusion he saw before him a counterpart of himself,
as young, lazy, ragged, and easy-natured as he remembered himself to be,
yesterday--or, was it yesterday?

"That's young Rip," continued his informer. "His father was Rip Van
Winkle, too, but he went to the mountains twenty years ago and never came
back. He probably fell over a cliff, or was carried off by Indians, or
eaten by bears."

Twenty years ago! Truly, it was so. Rip had slept for twenty years
without awaking. He had left a peaceful colonial village; he returned to
a bustling republican town. How he eventually found, among the oldest
inhabitants, some who admitted that they knew him; how he found a
comfortable home with his married daughter and the son who took after him
so kindly; how he recovered from the effect of the tidings that his wife
had died of apoplexy, in a quarrel; how he resumed his seat at the tavern
tap and smoked long pipes and told long yarns for the rest of his days,
were matters of record up to the beginning of this century.

And a strange story Rip had to tell, for he had served as cup-bearer to
the dead crew of the Half Moon. He had quaffed a cup of Hollands with no
other than Henry Hudson himself. Some say that Hudson's spirit has made
its home amid these hills, that it may look into the lovely valley that
he discovered; but others hold that every twenty years he and his men
assemble for a revel in the mountains that so charmed them when first
seen swelling against the western heavens, and the liquor they drink on
this night has the bane of throwing any mortal who lips it into a slumber
whence nothing can arouse him until the day dawns when the crew shall
meet again. As you climb the east front of the mountains by the old
carriage road, you pass, half-way up the height, the stone that Rip Van
Winkle slept on, and may see that it is slightly hollowed by his form.
The ghostly revellers are due in the Catskills in 1909, and let all
tourists who are among the mountains in September of that year beware of
accepting liquor from strangers.


Behind the New Grand Hotel, in the Catskills, is an amphitheatre of
mountain that is held to be the place of which the Mohicans spoke when
they told of people there who worked in metals, and had bushy beards and
eyes like pigs. From the smoke of their forges, in autumn, came the haze
of Indian summer; and when the moon was full, it was their custom to
assemble on the edge of a precipice above the hollow and dance and caper
until the night was nigh worn away. They brewed a liquor that had the
effect of shortening the bodies and swelling the heads of all who drank
it, and when Hudson and his crew visited the mountains, the pygmies held
a carouse in his honor and invited him to drink their liquor. The crew
went away, shrunken and distorted by the magic distillation, and thus it
was that Rip Van Winkle found them on the eve of his famous sleep.


When the Dutch gave the name of Katzbergs to the mountains west of the
Hudson, by reason of the wild-cats and panthers that ranged there, they
obliterated the beautiful Indian Ontiora, "mountains of the sky." In one
tradition of the red men these hills were bones of a monster that fed on
human beings until the Great Spirit turned it into stone as it was
floundering toward the ocean to bathe. The two lakes near the summit were
its eyes. These peaks were the home of an Indian witch, who adjusted the
weather for the Hudson Valley with the certainty of a signal service
bureau. It was she who let out the day and night in blessed alternation,
holding back the one when the other was at large, for fear of conflict.
Old moons she cut into stars as soon as she had hung new ones in the sky,
and she was often seen perched on Round Top and North Mountain, spinning
clouds and flinging them to the winds. Woe betide the valley residents if
they showed irreverence, for then the clouds were black and heavy, and
through them she poured floods of rain and launched the lightnings,
causing disastrous freshets in the streams and blasting the wigwams of
the mockers. In a frolic humor she would take the form of a bear or deer
and lead the Indian hunters anything but a merry dance, exposing them to
tire and peril, and vanishing or assuming some terrible shape when they
had overtaken her. Sometimes she would lead them to the cloves and would
leap into the air with a mocking "Ho, ho!" just as they stopped with a
shudder at the brink of an abyss. Garden Rock was a spot where she was
often found, and at its foot a lake once spread. This was held in such
awe that an Indian would never wittingly pursue his quarry there; but
once a hunter lost his way and emerged from the forest at the edge of the
pond. Seeing a number of gourds in crotches of the trees he took one, but
fearing the spirit he turned to leave so quickly that he stumbled and it
fell. As it broke, a spring welled from it in such volume that the
unhappy man was gulfed in its waters, swept to the edge of Kaaterskill
clove and dashed on the rocks two hundred and sixty feet below. Nor did
the water ever cease to run, and in these times the stream born of the
witch's revenge is known as Catskill Creek.


On the rock platform where the Catskill Mountain House now stands,
commanding one of the fairest views in the world, old chief Shandaken set
his wigwam,--for it is a mistake to suppose that barbarians are
indifferent to beauty,--and there his daughter, Lotowana, was sought in
marriage by his braves. She, however, kept faith to an early vow
exchanged with a young chief of the Mohawks. A suitor who was
particularly troublesome was Norsereddin, proud, morose, dark-featured, a
stranger to the red man, a descendant, so he claimed, from Egyptian
kings, and who lived by himself on Kaaterskill Creek, appearing among
white settlements but rarely.

On one of his visits to Catskill, a tavern-lounging Dutchman wagered him
a thousand golden crowns that he could not win Lotowana, and, stung by
avarice as well as inflamed by passion, Norsereddin laid new siege to her
heart. Still the girl refused to listen, and Shandaken counselled him to
be content with the smiles of others, thereby so angering the Egyptian
that he assailed the chief and was driven from the camp with blows; but
on the day of Lotowana's wedding with the Mohawk he returned, and in a
honeyed speech asked leave to give a jewel to the bride to show that he
had stifled jealousy and ill will. The girl took the handsome box he gave
her and drew the cover, when a spring flew forward, driving into her hand
the poisoned tooth of a snake that had been affixed to it. The venom was
strong, and in a few minutes Lotowana lay dead at her husband's feet.

Though the Egyptian had disappeared into the forest directly on the
acceptance of his treacherous gift, twenty braves set off in pursuit, and
overtaking him on the Kalkberg, they dragged him back to the rock where
father and husband were bewailing the maid's untimely fate. A pile of
fagots was heaped within a few feet of the precipice edge, and tying
their captive on them, they applied the torch, dancing about with cries
of exultation as the shrieks of the wretch echoed from the cliffs. The
dead girl was buried by the mourning tribe, while the ashes of
Norsereddin were left to be blown abroad. On the day of his revenge
Shandaken left his ancient dwelling-place, and his camp-fires never
glimmered afterward on the front of Ontiora.


Ralph Sutherland, who, early in the last century, occupied a stone house
a mile from Leeds, in the Catskills, was a man of morose and violent
disposition, whose servant, a Scotch girl, was virtually a slave,
inasmuch as she was bound to work for him without pay until she had
refunded to him her passage-money to this country. Becoming weary of
bondage and of the tempers of her master, the girl ran away. The man set
off in a raging chase, and she had not gone far before Sutherland
overtook her, tied her by the wrists to his horse's tail, and began the
homeward journey. Afterward, he swore that the girl stumbled against the
horse's legs, so frightening the animal that it rushed off madly,
pitching him out of the saddle and dashing the servant to death on rocks
and trees; yet, knowing how ugly-tempered he could be, his neighbors were
better inclined to believe that he had driven the horse into a gallop,
intending to drag the girl for a short distance, as a punishment, and to
rein up before he had done serious mischief. On this supposition he was
arrested, tried, and sentenced to die on the scaffold.

The tricks of circumstantial evidence, together with pleas advanced by
influential relatives of the prisoner, induced the court to delay
sentence until the culprit should be ninety-nine years old, but it was
ordered that, while released on his own recognizance, in the interim, he
should keep a hangman's noose about his neck and show himself before the
judges in Catskill once every year, to prove that he wore his badge of
infamy and kept his crime in mind. This sentence he obeyed, and there
were people living recently who claimed to remember him as he went about
with a silken cord knotted at his throat. He was always alone, he seldom
spoke, his rough, imperious manner had departed. Only when children asked
him what the rope was for were his lips seen to quiver, and then he would
hurry away. After dark his house was avoided, for gossips said that a
shrieking woman passed it nightly, tied at the tail of a giant horse with
fiery eyes and smoking nostrils; that a skeleton in a winding sheet had
been found there; that a curious thing, somewhat like a woman, had been
known to sit on his garden wall, with lights shining from her
finger-tips, uttering unearthly laughter; and that domestic animals
reproached the man by groaning and howling beneath his windows.

These beliefs he knew, yet he neither grieved, nor scorned, nor answered
when he was told of them. Years sped on. Every year deepened his reserve
and loneliness, and some began to whisper that he would take his own way
out of the world, though others answered that men who were born to be
hanged would never be drowned; but a new republic was created; new laws
were made; new judges sat to minister them; so, on Ralph Sutherland's
ninety-ninth birthday anniversary, there were none who would accuse him
or execute sentence. He lived yet another year, dying in 1801. But was it
from habit, or was it in self-punishment and remorse, that he never took
off the cord? for, when he drew his last breath, though it was in his own
house, his throat was still encircled by the hangman's rope.


Intermarriages between white people and red ones in this country were not
uncommon in the days when our ancestors led as rude a life as the
natives, and several places in the Catskills commemorate this fact. Mount
Utsayantha, for example, is named for an Indian woman whose life, with
that of her baby and her white husband, was lost there. For the white men
early found friends among these mountains. As far back as 1663 they
spared Catherine Dubois and her three children, after some rash spirits
had abducted them and carried them to a place on the upper Walkill, to do
them to death; for the captives raised a Huguenot hymn and the hearts of
their captors were softened.

In Esopus Valley lived Winnisook, whose height was seven feet, and who
was known among the white settlers as "the big Indian." He loved a white
girl of the neighborhood, one Gertrude Molyneux, and had asked for her
hand; but while she was willing, the objections of her family were too
strong to be overcome, and she was teased into marriage with Joseph
Bundy, of her own race, instead. She liked the Indian all the better
after that, however, because Bundy proved to be a bad fellow, and
believing that she could be happier among barbarians than among a people
that approved such marriages, she eloped with Winnisook. For a long time
all trace of the runaway couple was lost, but one day the man having gone
down to the plain to steal cattle, it was alleged, was discovered by some
farmers who knew him, and who gave hot chase, coming up with him at the
place now called Big Indian.

Foremost in the chase was Bundy. As he came near to the enemy of his
peace he exclaimed, "I think the best way to civilize that yellow serpent
is to let daylight into his heart," and, drawing his rifle to his
shoulder, he fired. Mortally wounded, yet instinctively seeking refuge,
the giant staggered into the hollow of a pine-tree, where the farmers
lost sight of him. There, however, he was found by Gertrude, bolt
upright, yet dead. The unwedded widow brought her dusky children to the
place and spent the remainder of her days near his grave. Until a few
years ago the tree was still pointed out, but a railroad company has now
covered it with an embankment.


Baas [Boss] Volckert Jan Pietersen Van Amsterdam kept a bake-shop in
Albany, and lives in history as the man who invented New Year cakes and
made gingerbread babies in the likeness of his own fat offspring. Good
churchman though he was, the bane of his life was a fear of being
bewitched, and perhaps it was to keep out evil spirits, who might make
one last effort to gain the mastery over him, ere he turned the customary
leaf with the incoming year, that he had primed himself with an extra
glass of spirits on the last night of 1654. His sales had been brisk, and
as he sat in his little shop, meditating comfortably on the gains he
would make when his harmless rivals--the knikkerbakkers (bakers of
marbles)--sent for their usual supply of olie-koeks and mince-pies on the
morrow, he was startled by a sharp rap, and an ugly old woman entered.
"Give me a dozen New Year's cookies!" she cried, in a shrill voice.

"Vell, den, you needn' sbeak so loud. I aind teaf, den."

"A dozen!" she screamed. "Give me a dozen. Here are only twelve."

"Vell, den, dwalf is a dozen."

"One more! I want a dozen."

"Vell, den, if you vant anodder, go to de duyvil and ged it."

Did the hag take him at his word? She left the shop, and from that time
it seemed as if poor Volckert was bewitched, indeed, for his cakes were
stolen; his bread was so light that it went up the chimney, when it was
not so heavy that it fell through the oven; invisible hands plucked
bricks from that same oven and pelted him until he was blue; his wife
became deaf, his children went unkempt, and his trade went elsewhere.
Thrice the old woman reappeared, and each time was sent anew to the
devil; but at last, in despair, the baker called on Saint Nicolaus to
come and advise him. His call was answered with startling quickness, for,
almost while he was making it, the venerable patron of Dutch feasts stood
before him. The good soul advised the trembling man to be more generous
in his dealings with his fellows, and after a lecture on charity he
vanished, when, lo! the old woman was there in his place.

She repeated her demand for one more cake, and Volckert Jan Pietersen,
etc., gave it, whereupon she exclaimed, "The spell is broken, and from
this time a dozen is thirteen!" Taking from the counter a gingerbread
effigy of Saint Nicolaus, she made the astonished Dutchman lay his hand
upon it and swear to give more liberal measure in the future. So, until
thirteen new States arose from the ruins of the colonies,--when the
shrewd Yankees restored the original measure,--thirteen made a baker's


Most storied of our New World rivers is the Hudson. Historic scenes have
been enacted on its shores, and Indian, Dutchman, Briton, and American
have invested it with romance. It had its source, in the red man's fancy,
in a spring of eternal youth; giants and spirits dwelt in its woods and
hills, and before the river-Shatemuc, king of streams, the red men called
it--had broken through the highlands, those mountains were a pent for
spirits who had rebelled against the Manitou. After the waters had forced
a passage to the sea these evil ones sought shelter in the glens and
valleys that open to right and left along its course, but in time of
tempest, when they hear Manitou riding down the ravine on wings of storm,
dashing thunderbolts against the cliffs, it is the fear that he will
recapture them and force them into lightless caverns to expiate their
revolt, that sends them huddling among the rocks and makes the hills
resound with roars and howls.

At the Devil's Dance-Chamber, a slight plateau on the west bank, between
Newburg and Crom Elbow, the red men performed semi-religious rites as a
preface to their hunting and fishing trips or ventures on the war-path.
They built a fire, painted themselves, and in that frenzy into which
savages are so readily lashed, and that is so like to the action of mobs
in trousers, they tumbled, leaped, danced, yelled, sang, grimaced, and
gesticulated until the Manitou disclosed himself, either as a harmless
animal or a beast of prey. If he came in the former shape the augury was
favorable, but if he showed himself as a bear or panther, it was a
warning of evil that they seldom dared to disregard.

The crew of Hudson's ship, the Half Moon, having chanced on one of these
orgies, were so impressed by the fantastic spectacle that they gave the
name Duyvels Dans-Kamer to the spot. Years afterwards, when Stuyvesant
ascended the river, his doughty retainers were horrified, on landing
below the Dans-Kamer, to discover hundreds of painted figures frisking
there in the fire-light. A few surmised that they were but a new
generation of savages holding a powwow, but most of the sailors fancied
that the assemblage was demoniac, and that the figures were spirits of
bad Indians repeating a scalp-dance and revelling in the mysterious
fire-water that they had brought down from the river source in jars and
skins. The spot was at least once profaned with blood, for a young
Dutchman and his wife, of Albany, were captured here by an angry Indian,
and although the young man succeeded in stabbing his captor to death, he
was burned alive on the rock by the friends of the Indian whose wrath he
had provoked. The wife, after being kept in captivity for a time, was


The wood-tick's drum convokes the elves at the noon of night on Cro' Nest
top, and, clambering out of their flower-cup beds and hammocks of cobweb,
they fly to the meeting, not to freak about the grass or banquet at the
mushroom table, but to hear sentence passed on the fay who, forgetting
his vestal vow, has loved an earthly maid. From his throne under a canopy
of tulip petals, borne on pillars of shell, the king commands silence,
and with severe eye but softened voice he tells the culprit that while he
has scorned the royal decree he has saved himself from the extreme
penalty, of imprisonment in walnut shells and cobweb dungeons, by loving
a maid who is gentle and pure. So it shall be enough if he will go down
to the Hudson and seize a drop from the bow of mist that a sturgeon
leaves when he makes his leap; and after, to kindle his darkened
flame-wood lamp at a meteor spark. The fairy bows, and without a word
slowly descends the rocky steep, for his wing is soiled and has lost its
power; but once at the river, he tugs amain at a mussel shell till he has
it afloat; then, leaping in, he paddles out with a strong grass blade
till he comes to the spot where the sturgeon swims, though the
watersprites plague him and toss his boat, and the fish and the leeches
bunt and drag; but, suddenly, the sturgeon shoots from the water, and ere
the arch of mist that he tracks through the air has vanished, the sprite
has caught a drop of the spray in a tiny blossom, and in this he washes
clean his wings.

The water-goblins torment him no longer. They push his boat to the shore,
where, alighting, he kisses his hand, then, even as a bubble, he flies
back to the mountain top, dons his acorn helmet, his corselet of
bee-hide, his shield of lady-bug shell, and grasping his lance, tipped
with wasp sting, he bestrides his fire-fly steed and off he goes like a
flash. The world spreads out and then grows small, but he flies straight
on. The ice-ghosts leer from the topmost clouds, and the mists surge
round, but he shakes his lance and pipes his call, and at last he comes
to the Milky Way, where the sky-sylphs lead him to their queen, who lies
couched in a palace ceiled with stars, its dome held up by northern
lights and the curtains made of the morning's flush. Her mantle is
twilight purple, tied with threads of gold from the eastern dawn, and her
face is as fair as the silver moon.

She begs the fay to stay with her and taste forever the joys of heaven,
but the knightly elf keeps down the beating of his heart, for he
remembers a face on earth that is fairer than hers, and he begs to go.
With a sigh she fits him a car of cloud, with the fire-fly steed chained
on behind, and he hurries away to the northern sky whence the meteor
comes, with roar and whirl, and as it passes it bursts to flame. He
lights his lamp at a glowing spark, then wheels away to the fairy-land.
His king and his brothers hail him stoutly, with song and shout, and
feast and dance, and the revel is kept till the eastern sky has a ruddy
streak. Then the cock crows shrill and the fays are gone.


The name of this town has forty-two spellings in old records, and with
singular pertinacity in ill-doing, the inhabitants have fastened on it
the longest and clumsiest of all. It comes from the Mohegan words
Apo-keep-sink, meaning a safe, pleasant harbor. Harbor it might be for
canoes, but for nothing bigger, for it was only the little cove that was
so called between Call Rock and Adder Cliff,--the former indicating where
settlers awaiting passage hailed the masters of vessels from its top, and
the latter taking its name from the snakes that abounded there.

Hither came a band of Delawares with Pequot captives, among them a young
chief to whom had been offered not only life but leadership if he would
renounce his tribe, receive the mark of the turtle on his breast, and
become a Delaware. On his refusal, he was bound to a tree, and was about
to undergo the torture, when a girl among the listeners sprang to his
side. She, too, was a Pequot, but the turtle totem was on her bosom, and
when she begged his life, because they had been betrothed, the captors
paused to talk of it. She had chosen well the time to interfere, for a
band of Hurons was approaching, and even as the talk went on their yell
was heard in the wood. Instant measures for defence were taken, and in
the fight that followed both chief and maiden were forgotten; but though
she cut the cords that bound him, they were separated in the confusion,
he disappearing, she falling captive to the Hurons, who, sated with
blood, retired from the field. In the fantastic disguise of a wizard the
young Pequot entered their camp soon after, and on being asked to try his
enchantments for the cure of a young woman, he entered her tent, showing
no surprise at finding her to be the maiden of his choice, who was
suffering from nothing worse than nerves, due to the excitement of the
battle. Left alone with his patient, he disclosed his identity, and
planned a way of escape that proved effective on that very night, for,
though pursued by the angry Hurons, the couple reached "safe harbor,"
thence making a way to their own country in the east, where they were


Dunderberg, "Thunder Mountain," at the southern gate of the Hudson
Highlands, is a wooded eminence, chiefly populated by a crew of imps of
stout circumference, whose leader, the Heer, is a bulbous goblin clad in
the dress worn by Dutch colonists two centuries ago, and carrying a
speaking-trumpet, through which he bawls his orders for the blowing of
winds and the touching off of lightnings. These orders are given in Low
Dutch, and are put into execution by the imps aforesaid, who troop into
the air and tumble about in the mist, sometimes smiting the flag or
topsail of a ship to ribbons, or laying the vessel over before the wind
until she is in peril of going on beam ends. At one time a sloop passing
the Dunderberg had nearly foundered, when the crew discovered the
sugar-loaf hat of the Heer at the mast-head. None dared to climb for it,
and it was not until she had driven past Pollopel's Island--the limit of
the Heer's jurisdiction--that she righted. As she did so the little hat
spun into the air like a top, creating a vortex that drew up the
storm-clouds, and the sloop kept her way prosperously for the rest of the
voyage. The captain had nailed a horse-shoe to the mast. The "Hat Rogue"
of the Devil's Bridge in Switzerland must be a relative of this gamesome
sprite, for his mischief is usually of a harmless sort; but, to be on the
safe side, the Dutchmen who plied along the river lowered their peaks in
homage to the keeper of the mountain, and for years this was a common
practice. Mariners who paid this courtesy to the Heer of the Donder Berg
were never molested by his imps, though skipper Ouselsticker, of
Fishkill,--for all he had a parson on board,--was once beset by a heavy
squall, and the goblin came out of the mist and sat astraddle of his
bowsprit, seeming to guide his schooner straight toward the rocks. The
dominie chanted the song of Saint Nicolaus, and the goblin, unable to
endure either its spiritual potency or the worthy parson's singing, shot
upward like a ball and rode off on the gale, carrying with him the
nightcap of the parson's wife, which he hung on the weathercock of Esopus
steeple, forty miles away.


The Hudson Highlands are suggestively named Bear Mountain, Sugar Loaf,
Cro' Nest, Storm King, called by the Dutch Boterberg, or Butter Hill,
from its likeness to a pat of butter; Beacon Hill, where the fires blazed
to tell the country that the Revolutionary war was over; Dunderberg,
Mount Taurus, so called because a wild bull that had terrorized the
Highlands was chased out of his haunts on this height, and was killed by
falling from a cliff on an eminence to the northward, known, in
consequence, as Breakneck Hill. These, with Anthony's Nose, are the
principal points of interest in the lovely and impressive panorama that
unfolds before the view as the boats fly onward.

Concerning the last-named elevation, the aquiline promontory that abuts
on the Hudson opposite Dunderberg, it takes title from no resemblance to
the human feature, but is so named because Anthony Van Corlaer, the
trumpeter, who afterwards left a reason for calling the upper boundary of
Manhattan Island Spuyten Duyvil Creek, killed the first sturgeon ever
eaten at the foot of this mountain. It happened in this wise: By
assiduous devotion to keg and flagon Anthony had begotten a nose that was
the wonder and admiration of all who knew it, for its size was
prodigious; in color it rivalled the carbuncle, and it shone like
polished copper. As Anthony was lounging over the quarter of Peter
Stuyvesant's galley one summer morning this nose caught a ray from the
sun and reflected it hissing into the water, where it killed a sturgeon
that was rising beside the vessel. The fish was pulled aboard, eaten, and
declared good, though the singed place savored of brimstone, and in
commemoration of the event Stuyvesant dubbed the mountain that rose above
his vessel Anthony's Nose.


Moodua is an evolution, through Murdy's and Moodna, from Murderer's
Creek, its present inexpressive name having been given to it by N. P.
Willis. One Murdock lived on its shore with his wife, two sons, and a
daughter; and often in the evening Naoman, a warrior of a neighboring
tribe, came to the cabin, caressed the children, and shared the woodman's
hospitality. One day the little girl found in the forest an arrow wrapped
in snake-skin and tipped with crow's feather; then the boy found a
hatchet hanging by a hair from a bough above the door; then a glare of
evil eyes was caught for an instant in a thicket. Naoman, when he came,
was reserved and stern, finding voice only to warn the family to fly that
night; so, when all was still, the threatened family made its way softly,
but quickly, to the Hudson shore, and embarked for Fisher's Kill, across
the river.

The wind lagged and their boat drew heavily, and when, from the shade of
Pollopel's Island, a canoe swept out, propelled by twelve men, the hearts
of the people in the boat sank in despair. The wife was about to leap
over, but Murdock drew her back; then, loading and firing as fast as
possible, he laid six of his pursuers low; but the canoe was savagely
urged forward, and in another minute every member of the family was a
helpless captive. When the skiff had been dragged back, the prisoners
were marched through the wood to an open spot where the principal members
of the tribe sat in council.

The sachem arose, twisted his hands in the woman's golden hair, bared his
knife, and cried, "Tell us what Indian warned you and betrayed his tribe,
or you shall see husband and children bleed before your eyes." The woman
answered never a word, but after a little Naoman arose and said, "'Twas
I;" then drew his blanket about him and knelt for execution. An axe cleft
his skull. Drunk with the sight of blood, the Indians rushed upon the
captives and slew them, one by one. The prisoners neither shrank nor
cried for mercy, but met their end with hymns upon their lips, and,
seeing that they could so meet death, one member of the band let fall his
arm and straight became a Christian. The cabin was burned, the bodies
flung into the stream, and the stain of blood was seen for many a year in
Murderer's Creek.


About a mile back from the Hudson, at Coxsackie, stood the cabin of Nick
Wolsey, who, in the last century, was known to the river settlements as a
hunter and trapper of correct aim, shrewdness, endurance, and taciturn
habit. For many years he lived in this cabin alone, except for the
company of his dog; but while visiting a camp of Indians in the
wilderness he was struck with the engaging manner of one of the girls of
the tribe; he repeated the visit; he found cause to go to the camp
frequently; he made presents to the father of the maid, and at length won
her consent to be his wife. The simple marriage ceremony of the tribe was
performed, and Wolsey led Minamee to his home; but the wedding was
interrupted in an almost tragic manner, for a surly fellow who had loved
the girl, yet who never had found courage to declare himself, was wrought
to such a jealous fury at the discovery of Wolsey's good fortune that he
sprang at him with a knife, and would have despatched him on the spot had
not the white man's faithful hound leaped at his throat and borne him to
the ground.

Wolsey disarmed the fellow and kicked and cuffed him to the edge of the
wood, while the whole company shouted with laughter at this ignominious
punishment, and approved it. A year or more passed. Wolsey and his Indian
wife were happy in their free and simple life; happy, too, in their
little babe. Wolsey was seldom absent from his cabin for any considerable
length of time, and usually returned to it before the night set in. One
evening he noticed that the grass and twigs were bent near his house by
some passing foot that, with the keen eye of the woodman, he saw was not
his wife's.

"Some hunter," he said, "saw the house when he passed here, and as,
belike, he never saw one before, he stopped to look in." For the trail
led to his window, and diverged thence to the forest again. A few days
later, as he was returning, he came on the footprints that were freshly
made, and a shadow crossed his face. On nearing the door he stumbled on
the body of his dog, lying rigid on the ground. "How did this happen,
Minamee?" he cried, as he flung open the door. The wife answered, in a
low voice, "O Hush! you'll wake the child."

Nick Wolsey entered the cabin and stood as one turned to marble. Minamee,
his wife, sat on the gold hearth, her face and hands cut and blackened,
her dress torn, her eyes glassy, a meaningless smile on her lips. In her
arms she pressed the body of her infant, its dress soaked with blood, and
the head of the little creature lay on the floor beside her. She crooned
softly over the cold clay as if hushing it to sleep, and when Wolsey at
length found words, she only whispered, "Hush! you will wake him." The
night went heavily on; day dawned, and the crooning became lower and
lower; still, through all that day the bereft woman rocked to and fro
upon the floor, and the agonized husband hung about her, trying in vain
to give comfort, to bind her wounds, to get some explanation of the
mystery that confronted him. The second night set in, and it was evident
that it would be the last for Minamee. Her strength failed until she
allowed herself to be placed on a couch of skins, while the body of her
child was gently lifted from her arms. Then, for a few brief minutes, her
reason was restored, and she found words to tell her husband how the
Indian whose murderous attack he had thwarted at the wedding had come to
the cabin, shot the dog that had rushed out to defend the place, beat the
woman back from the door, tore the baby from its bed, slashed its head
off with a knife, and, flinging the little body into her lap, departed
with the words, "This is my revenge. I am satisfied." Before the sun was
in the east again Minamee was with her baby.

Wolsey sat for hours in the ruin of his happiness, his breathing alone
proving that he was alive, and when at last he arose and went out of the
house, there were neither tears nor outcry; he saddled his horse and rode
off to the westward. At nightfall he came to the Indian village where he
had won his wife, and relating to the assembled tribe what had happened,
he demanded that the murderer be given up to him. His demand was readily
granted, whereupon the white man advanced on the cowering wretch, who had
confidently expected the protection of his people, and with the quick
fling and jerk of a raw-hide rope bound his arms to his side. Then
casting a noose about his neck and tying the end of it to his saddle-bow,
he set off for the Hudson. All that night he rode, the Indian walking and
running at the horse's heels, and next day he reached his cabin. Tying
his prisoner to a tree, the trapper cut a quantity of young willows, from
which he fashioned a large cradle-like receptacle; in this he placed the
culprit, face upward, and tied so stoutly that he could not move a
finger; then going into his house, he emerged with the body of Minamee,
and laid it, face downward, on the wretch, who could not repress a groan
of horror as the awful burden sank on his breast. Wolsey bound together
the living and the dead, and with a swing of his powerful arms he flung
them on his horse's back, securing them there with so many turns of rope
that nothing could displace them. Now he began to lash his horse until
the poor beast trembled with anger and pain, when, flinging off the
halter, he gave it a final lash, and the animal plunged, foaming and
snorting, into the wilderness. When it had vanished and the hoof-beats
were no longer heard, Nick Wolsey took his rifle on his arm and left his
home forever. And tradition says that the horse never stopped in its mad
career, but that on still nights it can be heard sweeping through the
woods along the Hudson and along the Mohawk like a whirlwind, and that as
the sound goes by a smothered voice breaks out in cursing, in appeal,
then in harsh and dreadful laughter.


It is Saturday night; the swell of the Hudson lazily heaves against the
shores of Tappan Zee, the cliff above Tarrytown where the white lady
cries on winter nights is pale in starlight, and crickets chirp in the
boskage. It is so still that the lap of oars can be heard coming across
the water at least a mile away. Some small boat, evidently, but of heavy
build, for it takes a vigorous hand to propel it, and now there is a
grinding of oars on thole-pins. Strange that it is not yet seen, for the
sound is near. Look! Is that a shadow crossing that wrinkle of starlight
in the water? The oars have stopped, and there is no wind to make that
sound of a sigh.

Ho, Rambout Van Dam! Is it you? Are you still expiating your oath to pull
from Kakiat to Spuyten Duyvil before the dawn of Sabbath, if it takes you
a month of Sundays? Better for you had you passed the night with your
roistering friends at Kakiat, or started homeward earlier, for
Sabbath-breaking is no sin now, and you, poor ghost, will find little
sympathy for your plight. Grant that your month of Sundays, or your cycle
of months of Sundays, be soon up, for it is sad to be reminded that we
may be punished for offences many years forgotten. When the sun is high
to-morrow a score of barges will vex the sea of Tappan, each crowded with
men and maids from New Amsterdam, jigging to profane music and refreshing
themselves with such liquors as you, Rambout, never even smelled--be
thankful for that much. If your shade sits blinking at them from the
wooded buttresses of the Palisades, you must repine, indeed, at the
hardness of your fate.


In the flower-gemmed cemetery of Tarrytown, where gentle Irving sleeps, a
Hessian soldier was interred after sustaining misfortune in the loss of
his head in one of the Revolutionary battles. For a long time after he
was buried it was the habit of this gentleman to crawl from his grave at
unseemly hours and gallop about the country, sending shivers through the
frames of many worthy people, who shrank under their blankets when they
heard the rush of hoofs along the unlighted roads.

In later times there lived in Tarrytown--so named because of the tarrying
habits of Dutch gossips on market days, though some hard-minded people
insist that Tarwe-town means Wheat-towna gaunt schoolmaster, one Ichabod
Crane, who cherished sweet sentiments for Katrina Van Tassell, the buxom
daughter of a farmer, also a famous maker of pies and doughnuts. Ichabod
had been calling late one evening, and, his way home being long,
Katrina's father lent him a horse to make the journey; but even with this
advantage the youth set out with misgivings, for he had to pass the

As it was near the hour when the Hessian was to ride, he whistled feebly
to keep his courage up, but when he came to the dreaded spot the whistle
died in a gasp, for he heard the tread of a horse. On looking around, his
hair bristled and his heart came up like a plug in his throat to hinder
his breathing, for he saw a headless horseman coming over the ridge
behind him, blackly defined against the starry sky. Setting spurs to his
nag with a hope of being first to reach Sleepy Hollow bridge, which the
spectre never passed, the unhappy man made the best possible time in that
direction, for his follower was surely overtaking him. Another minute and
the bridge would be reached; but, to Ichabod's horror, the Hessian dashed
alongside and, rising in his stirrups, flung his head full at the
fugitive's back. With a squeal of fright the schoolmaster rolled into a
mass of weeds by the wayside, and for some minutes he remained there,
knowing and remembering nothing.

Next morning farmer Van Tassell's horse was found grazing in a field near
Sleepy Hollow, and a man who lived some miles southward reported that he
had seen Mr. Crane striding as rapidly along the road to New York as his
lean legs could take him, and wearing a pale and serious face as he kept
his march. There were yellow stains on the back of his coat, and the man
who restored the horse found a smashed pumpkin in the broken bushes
beside the road. Ichabod never returned to Tarrytown, and when Brom
Bones, a stout young ploughman and taphaunter, married Katrina, people
made bold to say that he knew more about the galloping Hessian than any
one else, though they believed that he never had reason to be jealous of
Ichabod Crane.


It was noised about New Amsterdam, two hundred years ago, that a round
and bulky ship flying Dutch colors from her lofty quarter was careering
up the harbor in the teeth of a north wind, through the swift waters of
an ebbing tide, and making for the Hudson. A signal from the Battery to
heave to and account for herself being disregarded, a cannon was trained
upon her, and a ball went whistling through her cloudy and imponderable
mass, for timbers she had none. Some of the sailor-folk talked of mirages
that rose into the air of northern coasts and seas, but the wise ones put
their fingers beside their noses and called to memory the Flying
Dutchman, that wanderer of the seas whose captain, having sworn that he
would round Cape Horn in spite of heaven and hell, has been beating to
and fro along the bleak Fuegian coast and elsewhere for centuries, being
allowed to land but once in seven years, when he can break the curse if
he finds a girl who will love him. Perhaps Captain Vanderdecken found
this maiden of his hopes in some Dutch settlement on the Hudson, or
perhaps he expiated his rashness by prayer and penitence; howbeit, he
never came down again, unless he slipped away to sea in snow or fog so
dense that watchers and boatmen saw nothing of his passing. A few old
settlers declared the vessel to be the Half Moon, and there were some who
testified to seeing that identical ship with Hudson and his spectre crew
on board making for the Catskills to hold carouse.

This fleeting vision has been confounded with the storm ship that lurks
about the foot of the Palisades and Point-no-Point, cruising through
Tappan Zee at night when a gale is coming up. The Hudson is four miles
wide at Tappan, and squalls have space enough to gather force; hence,
when old skippers saw the misty form of a ship steal out from the shadows
of the western hills, then fly like a gull from shore to shore, catching
the moonlight on her topsails, but showing no lanterns, they made to
windward and dropped anchor, unless their craft were stanch and their
pilot's brains unvexed with liquor. On summer nights, when falls that
curious silence which is ominous of tempest, the storm ship is not only
seen spinning across the mirror surface of the river, but the voices of
the crew are heard as they chant at the braces and halyards in words
devoid of meaning to the listeners.


The tide-water creek that forms the upper boundary of Manhattan Island is
known to dwellers in tenements round about as "Spittin' Divvle." The
proper name of it is Spuyten Duyvil, and this, in turn, is the
compression of a celebrated boast by Anthony Van Corlaer. This
redoubtable gentleman, famous for fat, long wind, and long whiskers, was
trumpeter for the garrison at New Amsterdam, which his countrymen had
just bought for twenty-four dollars, and he sounded the brass so sturdily
that in the fight between the Dutch and Indians at the Dey Street peach
orchard his blasts struck more terror into the red men's hearts than did
the matchlocks of his comrades. William the Testy vowed that Anthony and
his trumpet were garrison enough for all Manhattan Island, for he argued
that no regiment of Yankees would approach near enough to be struck with
lasting deafness, as must have happened if they came when Anthony was

Peter Stuyvesant-Peter the Headstrong--showed his appreciation of
Anthony's worth by making him his esquire, and when he got news of an
English expedition on its way to seize his unoffending colony, he at once
ordered Anthony to rouse the villages along the Hudson with a trumpet
call to war. The esquire took a hurried leave of six or eight ladies,
each of whom delighted to believe that his affections were lavished on
her alone, and bravely started northward, his trumpet hanging on one
side, a stone bottle, much heavier, depending from the other. It was a
stormy evening when he arrived at the upper end of the island, and there
was no ferryman in sight, so, after fuming up and down the shore, he
swallowed a mighty draught of Dutch courage,--for he was as accomplished
a performer on the horn as on the trumpet,--and swore with ornate and
voluminous oaths that he would swim the stream "in spite of the devil"
[En spuyt den Duyvil].

He plunged in, and had gone half-way across when the Evil One, not to be
spited, appeared as a huge moss-bunker, vomiting boiling water and
lashing a fiery tail. This dreadful fish seized Anthony by the leg; but
the trumpeter was game, for, raising his instrument to his lips, he
exhaled his last breath through it in a defiant blast that rang through
the woods for miles and made the devil himself let go for a moment. Then
he was dragged below, his nose shining through the water more and more
faintly, until, at last, all sight of him was lost. The failure of his
mission resulted in the downfall of the Dutch in America, for, soon
after, the English won a bloodless victory, and St. George's cross
flaunted from the ramparts where Anthony had so often saluted the setting
sun. But it was years, even then, before he was hushed, for in stormy
weather it was claimed that the shrill of his trumpet could be heard near
the creek that he had named, sounding above the deeper roar of the blast.


A curious tale of the Rosicrucians runs to the effect that more than two
centuries ago a band of German colonists entered the Ramapo valley and
put up houses of stone, like those they had left in the Hartz Mountains,
and when the Indians saw how they made knives and other wonderful things
out of metal, which they extracted from the rocks by fire, they believed
them to be manitous and went away, not wishing to resist their possession
of the land. There was treasure here, for High Tor, or Torn Mountain, had
been the home of Amasis, youngest of the magi who had followed the star
of Bethlehem. He had found his way, through Asia and Alaska, to this
country, had taken to wife a native woman, by whom he had a child, and
here on the summit he had built a temple. Having refused the sun worship,
when the Indians demanded that he should take their faith, he was set
upon, and would have been killed had not an earthquake torn the ground at
his feet, opening a new channel for the Hudson and precipitating into it
every one but the magus and his daughter. To him had been revealed in
magic vision the secrets of wealth in the rocks.

The leader in the German colony, one Hugo, was a man of noble origin, who
had a wife and two children: a boy, named after himself; a girl,--Mary.
Though it had been the custom in the other country to let out the forge
fires once in seven years, Hugo opposed that practice in the forge he had
built as needless. But his men murmured and talked of the salamander that
once in seven years attains its growth in unquenched flame and goes forth
doing mischief. On the day when that period was ended the master entered
his works and saw the men gazing into the furnace at a pale form that
seemed made from flame, that was nodding and turning in the fire,
occasionally darting its tongue at them or allowing its tail to fall out
and lie along the stone floor. As he came to the door he, too, was
transfixed, and the fire seemed burning his vitals, until he felt water
sprinkled on his face, and saw that his wife, whom he had left at home
too ill to move, stood behind him and was casting holy water into the
furnace, speaking an incantation as she did so. At that moment a storm
arose, and a rain fell that put out the fire; but as the last glow faded
the lady fell dead.

When her children were to be consecrated, seven years later, those who
stood outside of the church during the ceremony saw a vivid flash, and
the nurse turned from the boy in her fright. She took her hands from her
eyes. The child was gone. Twice seven years had passed and the daughter
remained unspotted by the world, for, on the night when her father had
led her to the top of High Torn Mountain and shown her what Amasis had
seen,--the earth spirits in their caves heaping jewels and offering to
give them if Hugo would speak the word that binds the free to the earth
forces and bars his future for a thousand years,--it was her prayer that
brought him to his senses and made the scene below grow dim, though the
baleful light of the salamander clinging to the rocks at the bottom of
the cave sent a glow into the sky.

Many nights after that the glow was seen on the height and Hugo was
missing from his home, but for lack of a pure soul to stand as
interpreter he failed to read the words that burned in the triangle on
the salamander's back, and returned in rage and jealousy. A knightly man
had of late appeared in the settlement, and between him and Mary a tender
feeling had arisen, that, however, was unexpressed until, after saving
her from the attack of a panther, he had allowed her to fall into his
arms. She would willingly then have declared her love for him, but he
placed her gently and regretfully from him and said, "When you slept I
came to you and put a crown of gems on your head: that was because I was
in the power of the earth spirit. Then I had power only over the element
of fire, that either consumes or hardens to stone; but now water and life
are mine. Behold! Wear these, for thou art worthy." And touching the
tears that had fallen from her eyes, they turned into lilies in his
hands, and he put them on her brow.

"Shall we meet again?" asked the girl.

"I do not know," said he. "I tread the darkness of the universe alone,
and I peril my redemption by yielding to this love of earth. Thou art
redeemed already, but I must make my way back to God through obedience
tested in trial. Know that I am one of those that left heaven for love of
man. We were of that subtle element which is flame, burning and glowing
with love,--and when thy mother came to me with the power of purity to
cast me out of the furnace, I lost my shape of fire and took that of a
human being,--a child. I have been with thee often, and was rushing to
annihilation, because I could not withstand the ordeal of the senses. Had
I yielded, or found thee other than thou art, I should have become again
an earth spirit. I have been led away by wish for power, such as I have
in my grasp, and forgot the mission to the suffering. I became a wanderer
over the earth until I reached this land, the land that you call new.
Here was to be my last trial and here I am to pass the gate of fire."

As he spoke voices arose from the settlement.

"They are coming," said he. The stout form of Hugo was in advance. With a
fierce oath he sprang on the young man. "He has ruined my household," he
cried. "Fling him into the furnace!" The young man stood waiting, but his
brow was serene. He was seized, and in a few moments had disappeared
through the mouth of the burning pit. But Mary, looking up, saw a shape
in robes of silvery light, and it drifted upward until it vanished in the
darkness. The look of horror on her face died away, and a peace came to
it that endured until the end.


Between the island of Manhattoes and the Catskills the Hudson shores were
plagued with spooks, and even as late as the nineteenth century Hans
Anderson, a man who tilled a farm back of Peekskill, was worried into his
grave by the leaden-face likeness of a British spy whom he had hanged on
General Putnam's orders. "Old Put" doubtless enjoyed immunity from this
vexatious creature, because he was born with few nerves. A region
especially afflicted was the confluence of the Croton and the Hudson, for
the Kitchawan burying-ground was here, and the red people being disturbed
by the tramping of white men over their graves, "the walking sachems of
Teller's Point" were nightly to be met on their errands of protest.

These Indians had built a palisade on Croton Point, and here they made
their last stand against their enemies from the north. Throughout the
fight old chief Croton stood on the wall with arrows showering around
him, and directed the resistance with the utmost calm. Not until every
one of his men was dead and the fort was going up in flame about him did
he confess defeat. Then standing amid the charring timbers, he used his
last breath in calling down the curse of the Great Spirit against the
foe. As the victorious enemy rushed into the enclosure to secure the
scalps of the dead he fell lifeless into the fire, and their jubilant
yell was lost upon his ears. Yet, he could not rest nor bear to leave his
ancient home, even after death, and often his form, in musing attitude,
was seen moving through the woods. When a manor was built on the ruins of
his fort, he appeared to the master of it, to urge him into the
Continental army, and having seen this behest obeyed and laid a solemn
injointure to keep the freedom of the land forever, he vanished, and
never appeared again.


After the English had secured the city of New Amsterdam and had begun to
extend their settlements along the Hudson, the Indians congregated in
large numbers about Lake Mahopac, and rejected all overtures for the
purchase of that region. In their resolution they were sustained by their
young chief Omoyao, who refused to abandon on on any terms the country
where his fathers had solong hunted, fished, and built their lodges. A
half-breed, one Joliper, a member of this tribe, was secretly in the pay
of the English, but the allurements and insinuations that he put forth on
their behalf were as futile as the breathing of wind in the leaves. At
last the white men grew angry. Have the land they would, by evil course
if good ways were refused, and commissioning Joliper to act for them in a
decisive manner, they guaranteed to supply him with forces if his
negotiations fell through. This man never thought it needful to
negotiate. He knew the temper of his tribe and he was too jealous of his
chief to go to him for favors, because he loved Maya, the chosen one of

At the door of Maya's tent he entreated her to go with him to the white
settlements, and on her refusal he broke into angry threats, declaring,
in the self-forgetfulness of passion, that he would kill her lover and
lead the English against the tribe. Unknown to both Omoyao had overheard
this interview, and he immediately sent runners to tell all warriors of
his people to meet him at once on the island in the lake. Though the
runners were cautioned to keep their errand secret, it is probable that
Joliper suspected that the alarm had gone forth, and he resolved to
strike at once; so he summoned his renegades, stole into camp next
evening and made toward Maya's wigwam, intending to take her to a place
of safety. Seeing the chief at the door, he shot an arrow at him, but the
shaft went wide and slew the girl's father. Realizing, upon this assault,
that he was outwitted and that his people were outnumbered, the chief
called to Maya to meet him at the island, and plunged into the brush,
after seeing that she had taken flight in an opposite direction. The
vengeful Joliper was close behind him with his renegades, and the chief
was captured; then, that he might not communicate with his people or
delay the operations against them, it was resolved to put him to death.

He was tied to a tree, the surrounding wood was set on fire, and he was
abandoned to his fate, his enemies leaving him to destruction in their
haste to reach the place of the council and slay or capture all who were
there. Hardly were they out of hearing ere the plash of a paddle sounded
through the roar of flame and Maya sprang upon the bank, cut her lover's
bonds, and with him made toward the island, which they reached by a
protected way before the assailants had arrived. They told the story of
Joliper's cruelty and treason, and when his boats were seen coming in to
shore they had eyes and hands only for Joliper. He was the first to land.
Hardly had he touched the strand before he was surrounded by a frenzied
crowd and had fallen bleeding from a hundred gashes.

The Indians were overpowered after a brief and bloody resistance. They
took safety in flight. Omoyao and Maya, climbing upon the rock above
their "council chamber," found that while most of their people had
escaped their own retreat was cut off, and that it would be impossible to
reach any of the canoes. They preferred death to torture and captivity,
so, hand in hand, they leaped together down the cliff, and the English
claimed the land next day.


The cataract of Niagara (properly pronounced Nee-ah-gah-rah), or
Oniahgarah, is as fatal as it is fascinating, beautiful, sublime, and the
casualties occurring there justify the tradition that "the Thundering
Water asks two victims every year." It was reputed, before white men
looked for the first time on these falls--and what thumping yarns they
told about them!--that two lives were lost here annually, and this
average has been kept up by men and women who fall into the flood through
accident, recklessness or despair, while bloody battles have been fought
on the shores, and vessels have been hurled over the brink, to be dashed
to splinters on the rocks.

The sound of the cataract was declared to be the voice of a mighty spirit
that dwelt in the waters, and in former centuries the Indians offered to
it a yearly sacrifice. This sacrifice was a maiden of the tribe, who was
sent over in a white canoe, decorated with fruit and flowers, and the
girls contended for this honor, for the brides of Manitou were objects of
a special grace in the happy hunting-grounds. The last recorded sacrifice
was in 1679, when Lelawala, the daughter of chief Eagle Eye, was chosen,
in spite of the urgings and protests of the chevalier La Salle, who had
been trying to restrain the people from their idolatries by an exposition
of the Christian dogma. To his protests he received the unexpected
answer, "Your words witness against you. Christ, you say, set us an
example. We will follow it. Why should one death be great, while our
sacrifice is horrible?" So the tribe gathered at the bank to watch the
sailing of the white canoe. The chief watched the embarkation with the
stoicism usual to the Indian when he is observed by others, but when the
little bark swung out into the current his affection mastered him, and he
leaped into his own canoe and tried to overtake his daughter. In a moment
both were beyond the power of rescue. After their death they were changed
into spirits of pure strength and goodness, and live in a crystal heaven
so far beneath the fall that its roaring is a music to them: she, the
maid of the mist; he, the ruler of the cataract. Another version of the
legend makes a lover and his mistress the chief actors. Some years later
a patriarch of the tribe and all his sons went over the fall when the
white men had seized their lands, preferring death to flight or war.

In about the year 200 the Stone Giants waded across the river below the
falls on their northward march. These beings were descended from an
ancient family, and being separated from their stock in the year 150 by
the breaking of a vine bridge across the Mississippi, they left that
region. Indian Pass, in the Adirondacks, bore the names of Otneyarheh,
Stony Giants; Ganosgwah, Giants Clothed in Stone; and Dayohjegago, Place
Where the Storm Clouds Fight the Great Serpent. Giants and serpents were
held to be harmful inventions of the Evil Spirit, and the Lightning god,
catching up clouds as he stood on the crags, broke them open, tore their
lightnings out and hurled them against the monsters. These cannibals had
almost exterminated the Iroquois, for they were of immense size and had
made themselves almost invincible by rolling daily in the sand until
their flesh was like stone. The Holder of the Heavens, viewing their evil
actions from on high, came down disguised as one of their number--he used
often to meditate on Manitou Rock, at the Whirlpool--and leading them to
a valley near Onondaga, on pretence of guiding them to a fairer country,
he stood on a hill above them and hurled rocks upon their heads until
all, save one, who fled into the north, were dead. Yet, in the fulness of
time, new children of the Stone Giants (mail-clad Europeans?) entered the
region again and were destroyed by the Great Spirit,--oddly enough where
the famous fraud known as the Cardiff giant was alleged to have been
found. The Onondagas believed this statue to be one of their ancient


The valley of Zoar, in western New York, is so surrounded by hills that
its discoverers--a religious people, who gave it a name from Scripture
said, "This is Zoar; it is impregnable. From her we will never go." And
truly, for lack of roads, they found it so hard to get out, having got
in, that they did not leave it. Among the early settlers here were people
of a family named Wright, whose house became a sort of inn for the
infrequent traveller, inasmuch as they were not troubled with piety, and
had no scruples against the selling of drink and the playing of cards at
late hours. A peddler passed through the valley on his way to Buffalo and
stopped at the Wright house for a lodging, but before he went to bed he
incautiously showed a number of golden trinkets from his pack and drew a
considerable quantity of money out of his pocket when he paid the fee for
his lodging. Hardly had he fallen asleep before his greedy hosts were in
the room, searching for his money. Their lack of caution caused him to
awake, and as he found them rifling his pockets and his pack he sprang up
and showed fight.

A blow sent him to the bottom of the stairs, where his attempt to escape
was intercepted, and the family closed around him and bound his arms and
legs. They showed him the money they had taken and asked where he had
concealed the rest. He vowed that it was all he had. They insisted that
he had more, and seizing a knife from the table the elder Wright slashed
off one of his toes "to make him confess." No result came from this, and
six toes were cut off,--three from each foot; then, in disgust, the
unhappy peddler was knocked on the head and flung through a trap-door
into a shallow cellar. Presently he arose and tried to draw himself out,
but with hatchet and knife they chopped away his fingers and he fell
back. Even the women shared in this work, and leaned forward to gaze into
the cellar to see if he might yet be dead. While listening, they heard
the man invoke the curse of heaven on them: he asked that they should
wear the mark of crime even to the fourth generation, by coming into the
world deformed and mutilated as he was then. And it was so. The next
child born in that house had round, hoof-like feet, with only two toes,
and hands that tapered from the wrist into a single long finger. And in
time there were twenty people so deformed in the valley: The "crab-clawed
Zoarites" they were called.


The feeling recently created by an attempt to fasten the stupid names of
Fairport or of North Elmira on the village in central New York that, off
and on for fifty years, had been called Horseheads, caused an inquiry as
to how that singular name chanced to be adopted for a settlement. In
1779, when General Sullivan was retiring toward the base of his supplies
after a destructive campaign against the Indians in Genesee County, he
stopped near this place and rested his troops. The country was then rude,
unbroken, and still beset with enemies, however, and when the march was
resumed it was thought best to gain time over a part of the way by
descending the Chemung River on rafts.

As there were no appliances for building large floats, and the depth of
the water was not known, the general ordered a destruction of all
impedimenta that could be got rid of, and commanded that the poor and
superfluous horses should be killed. His order was obeyed. As soon as the
troops had gone, the wolves, that were then abundant, came forth and
devoured the carcasses of the steeds, so that the clean-picked bones were
strewn widely over the camp-ground. When the Indians ventured back into
this region, some of them piled the skulls of the horses into heaps, and
these curious monuments were found by white settlers who came into the
valley some years later, and who named their village Horseheads, in
commemoration of these relics. The Indians were especially loth to leave
this region, for their tradition was that it had been the land of the
Senecas from immemorial time, the tribe being descended from a couple
that had a home on a hill near Horseheads.


The Indians loved our lakes. They had eyes for their beauty, and to them
they were abodes of gracious spirits. They used to say of Oneida Lake,
that when the Great Spirit formed the world "his smile rested on its
waters and Frenchman's Island rose to greet it; he laughed and Lotus
Island came up to listen." So they built lodges on their shores and
skimmed their waters in canoes. Much of their history relates to them,
and this is a tale of the Senecas that was revived a few years ago by the
discovery of a deer-skin near Lakes Waneta and Keuka, New York, on which
some facts of the history were rudely drawn, for all Indians are artists.

Waneta, daughter of a chief, had plighted her troth to Kayuta, a hunter
of a neighboring tribe with which her people were at war. Their tryst was
held at twilight on the farther shore of the lake from her village, and
it was her gayety and happiness, after these meetings had taken place,
that roused the suspicion and jealousy of Weutha, who had marked her for
his bride against the time when he should have won her father's consent
by some act of bravery. Shadowing the girl as she stole into the forest
one evening, he saw her enter her canoe and row to a densely wooded spot;
he heard a call like the note of a quail, then an answer; then Kayuta
emerged on the shore, lifted the maiden from her little bark, and the
twain sat down beside the water to listen to the lap of its waves and
watch the stars come out.

Hurrying back to camp, the spy reported that an enemy was near them, and
although Waneta had regained her wigwam by another route before the
company of warriors had reached the lake, Kayuta was seen, pursued, and
only escaped with difficulty. Next evening, not knowing what had happened
after her homeward departure on the previous night--for the braves deemed
it best to keep the knowledge of their military operations from the
women--the girl crept away to the lake again and rowed to the accustomed
place, but while waiting for the quail call a twig dropped on the water
beside her. With a quick instinct that civilization has spoiled she
realized this to be a warning, and remaining perfectly still, she allowed
her boat to drift toward shore, presently discovering that her lover was
standing waist-deep in the water. In a whisper he told her that they were
watched, and bade her row to a dead pine that towered at the foot of the
lake, where he would soon meet her. At that instant an arrow grazed his
side and flew quivering into the canoe.

Pushing the boat on its course and telling her to hasten, Kayuta sprang
ashore, sounded the warwhoop, and as Weutha rose into sight he clove his
skull with a tomahawk. Two other braves now leaped forward, but, after a
struggle, Kayuta left them dead or senseless, too. He would have stayed
to tear their scalps off had he not heard his name uttered in a shriek of
agony from the end of the lake, and, tired and bleeding though he was, he
bounded along its margin like a deer, for the voice that he heard was
Waneta's. He reached the blasted pine, gave one look, and sank to the
earth. Presently other Indians came, who had heard the noise of fighting,
and burst upon him with yells and brandished weapons, but something in
his look restrained them from a close advance. His eyes were fixed on a
string of beads that lay on the bottom of the lake, just off shore, and
when the meaning of it came to them, the savages thought no more of
killing, but moaned their grief; for Waneta, in stepping from her canoe
to wade ashore, had been caught and swallowed by a quagmire. All night
and all next day Kayuta sat there like a man of stone. Then, just as the
hour fell when he was used to meet his love, his heart broke, and he
joined her in the spiritland.


A little maid of three years was missing from her home on the Genesee.
She had gone to gather water-lilies and did not return. Her mother,
almost crazed with grief, searched for days, weeks, months, before she
could resign herself to the thought that her little one--Kayutah, the
Drop Star, the Indians called her--had indeed been drowned. Years went
by. The woman's home was secure against pillage, for it was no longer the
one house of a white family in that region, and the Indians had retired
farther and farther into the wilderness. One day a hunter came to the
woman and said, "I have seen old Skenandoh,--the last of his tribe, thank
God! who bade me say this to you: that the ice is broken, and he knows of
a hill of snow where a red berry grows that shall be yours if you will
claim it." When the meaning of this message came upon her the woman
fainted, but on recovering speech she despatched her nephew to the hut of
the aged chief and passed that night in prayer.

The young man set off at sunset, and by hard riding, over dim trails,
with only stars for light, he came in the gray of dawn to an upright
timber, colored red and hung with scalps, that had been cut from white
men's heads at the massacre of Wyoming. The place they still call Painted
Post. Without drawing rein he sped along the hills that hem Lake Seneca,
then, striking deeper into the wilds, he reached a smaller lake, and
almost fell from his saddle before a rude tent near the shore. A new
grave had been dug close by, and he shuddered to think that perhaps he
had come too late, but a wrinkled Indian stepped forth at that moment and
waited his word.

"I come," cried the youth,--"to see the berry that springs from snow."

"You come in time," answered Skenandoh. "No, 'tis not in that grave. It
is my own child that is buried there. She was as a sister to the one you
seek, and she bade me restore the Drop Star to her mother,--the squaw
that we know as the New Moon's Light."

Stepping into the wigwam, he emerged again, clasping the wrist of a girl
of eighteen, whose robe he tore asunder at the throat, showing the white
breast, and on it a red birth-mark; then, leading her to the young man,
he said,--"And now I must go to the setting sun." He slung a pouch about
him, loaded, not with arms and food, but stones, stepped into his canoe,
and paddled out upon the water, singing as he went a melancholy
chant--his deathsong. On gaining the middle of the lake he swung his
tomahawk and clove the bottom of the frail boat, so that it filled in a
moment and the chief sank from sight. The young man took his cousin to
her overjoyed mother, helped to win her back to the ways of civilized
life, and eventually married her. She took her Christian name again, but
left to the lake on whose banks she had lived so long her Indian name of
Drop Star--Kayutah.


It was at Palmyra, New York, that the principles of Mormonism were first
enunciated by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have found the golden plates
of the Book of Mormon in a hill-side in neighboring Manchester,--the
"Hill of Cumorah,"--to which he was led by angels. The plates were
written in characters similar to the masonic cabala, and he translated
them by divine aid, giving to the world the result of his discovery. The
Hebrew prophet Mormon was the alleged author of the record, and his son
Moroni buried it. The basis of Mormonism was, however, an unpublished
novel, called "The Manuscript Found," that was read to Sidney Rigdon
(afterwards a Mormon elder) by its author, a clergyman, and that
formulated a creed for a hypothetical church. Smith had a slight local
celebrity, for he and his father were operators with the divining-rod,
and when he appropriated this creed a harmless and beneficent one, for
polygamy was a later "inspiration" of Brigham Young--and began to preach
it, in 1844, it gained many converts. His arrogation of the presidency of
the "Church of Latter Day Saints" and other rash performances won for him
the enmity of the Gentiles, who imprisoned and killed him at Carthage,
Missouri, leaving Brigham Young to lead the people across the deserts to
Salt Lake, where they prospered through thrift and industry.

It was claimed that in the van of this army, on the march to Utah, was
often seen a venerable man with silver beard, who never spoke, but who
would point the way whenever the pilgrims were faint or discouraged. When
they reached the spot where the temple was afterwards built, he struck
his staff into the earth and vanished.

At Hydesville, near Palmyra, spiritualism, as it is commonly called, came
into being on March 31, 1849, when certain of the departed announced
themselves by thumping on doors and tables in the house of the Fox
family, the survivors of which confessed the fraud nearly forty years
after. It is of interest to note that the ground whence these new
religions sprang was peopled by the Onondagas, the sacerdotal class of
the Algonquin tribe, who have preserved the ancient religious rites of
that great family until this day.


Bramley's Mountain, near the present village of Bloomfield, New York, on
the edge of the Catskill group, was the home of a young couple that had
married with rejoicing and had taken up the duties and pleasures of
housekeeping with enthusiasm. To be sure, in those days housekeeping was
not a thing to be much afraid of, and the servant question had not come
up for discussion. The housewives did the work themselves, and the
husband had no valets. The domicile of this particular pair was merely a
tent of skins stretched around a frame of poles, and their furniture
consisted principally of furs strewn over the earth floor; but they loved
each other truly. The girl was thankful to be taken from her home to
live, because, up to the time of her marriage, she had been persecuted by
a morose and ill-looking fellow of her tribe, who laid siege to her
affection with such vehemence that the more he pleaded the greater was
her dislike; and now she hoped that she had seen the last of him. But
that was not to be. He lurked about the wigwam of the pair, torturing
himself with the sight of their felicity, and awaiting his chance to
prove his hate. This chance came when the husband had gone to Lake
Delaware to fish, for he rowed after and gave battle in the middle of the
pond. Taken by surprise, and being insufficiently armed, the husband was
killed and his body flung into the water. Then, casting an affectionate
leer at the wife who had watched this act of treachery and malice with
speechless horror from the mountain-side, he drove his canoe ashore and
set off in pursuit of her. She retreated so slowly as to allow him to
keep her in sight, and when she entered a cave he pressed forward
eagerly, believing that now her escape was impossible; but she had
purposely trapped him there, for she had already explored a tortuous
passage that led to the upper air, and by this she had left the cavern in
safety while he was groping and calling in the dark. Returning to the
entrance, she loosened, by a jar, a ledge that overhung it, so that the
door was almost blocked; then, gathering light wood from the dry trees
around her, she made a fire and hurled the burning sticks into the prison
where the wretch was howling, until he was dead in smoke and flame. When
his yells and curses had been silenced she told a friend what she had
done, then going back to the lake, she sang her death-song and cast
herself into the water, hoping thus to rejoin her husband.


They have some pretty big mosquitoes in New Jersey and on Long Island,
but, if report of their ancestry is true, they have degenerated in size
and voracity; for the grandfather of all mosquitoes used to live in the
neighborhood of Fort Onondaga, New York, and sallying out whenever he was
hungry, would eat an Indian or two and pick his teeth with their ribs.
The red men had no arms that could prevail against it, but at last the
Holder of the Heavens, hearing their cry for aid, came down and attacked
the insect. Finding that it had met its match, the mosquito flew away so
rapidly that its assailant could hardly keep it in sight. It flew around
the great lake, then turned eastward again. It sought help vainly of the
witches that brooded in the sink-holes, or Green Lakes (near Janesville,
New York), and had reached the salt lake of Onondaga when its pursuer
came up and killed it, the creature piling the sand into hills in its
dying struggles.

As its blood poured upon the earth it became small mosquitoes, that
gathered about the Holder of the Heavens and stung him so sorely that he
half repented the service that he had done to men. The Tuscaroras say
that this was one of two monsters that stood on opposite banks of the
Seneca River and slew all men that passed. Hiawatha killed the other one.
On their reservation is a stone, marked by the form of the Sky Holder,
that shows where he rested during the chase, while his tracks were until
lately seen south of Syracuse, alternating with footprints of the
mosquito, which were shaped like those of a bird, and twenty inches long.
At Brighton, New York, where these marks appeared, they were
reverentially renewed by the Indians for many years.


In a cellar in Green Street, Schenectady, there appeared, some years ago,
the silhouette of a human form, painted on the floor in mould. It was
swept and scrubbed away, but presently it was there again, and month by
month, after each removal, it returned: a mass of fluffy mould, always in
the shape of a recumbent man. When it was found that the house stood on
the site of the old Dutch burial ground, the gossips fitted this and that
together and concluded that the mould was planted by a spirit whose
mortal part was put to rest a century and more ago, on the spot covered
by the house, and that the spirit took this way of apprising people that
they were trespassing on its grave. Others held that foul play had been
done, and that a corpse, hastily and shallowly buried, was yielding
itself back to the damp cellar in vegetable form, before its resolution
into simpler elements. But a darker meaning was that it was the outline
of a vampire that vainly strove to leave its grave, and could not because
a virtuous spell had been worked about the place.

A vampire is a dead man who walks about seeking for those whose blood he
can suck, for only by supplying new life to its cold limbs can he keep
the privilege of moving about the earth. He fights his way from his
coffin, and those who meet his gray and stiffened shape, with fishy eyes
and blackened mouth, lurking by open windows, biding his time to steal in
and drink up a human life, fly from him in terror and disgust. In
northern Rhode Island those who die of consumption are believed to be
victims of vampires who work by charm, draining the blood by slow
draughts as they lie in their graves. To lay this monster he must be
taken up and burned; at least, his heart must be; and he must be
disinterred in the daytime when he is asleep and unaware. If he died with
blood in his heart he has this power of nightly resurrection. As late as
1892 the ceremony of heart-burning was performed at Exeter, Rhode Island,
to save the family of a dead woman that was threatened with the same
disease that removed her, namely, consumption. But the Schenectady
vampire has yielded up all his substance, and the green picture is no


At Carthage, New York, where the Black River bends gracefully about a
point, there was a stanch old house, built in the colonial fashion and
designed for the occupancy of some family of hospitality and wealth, but
the family died out or moved away, and for some years it remained
deserted. During the war of 1812 the village gossips were excited by the
appearance of carpenters, painters and upholsterers, and it was evident
that the place was to be restored to its manorial dignities; but their
curiosity was deepened instead of satisfied when, after the house had
been put in order and high walls built around it, the occupants presented
themselves as four young women in the garb of nuns. Were they daughters
of the family? Were they English sympathizers in disguise, seeking asylum
in the days of trouble? Had they registered a vow of celibacy until their
lovers should return from the war? Were they on a secret and diplomatic
errand? None ever knew, at least in Carthage. The nuns lived in great
privacy, but in a luxury before unequalled in that part of the country.
They kept a gardener, they received from New York wines and delicacies
that others could not afford, and when they took the air, still veiled,
it was behind a splendid pair of bays.

One afternoon, just after the close of the war, a couple of young
American officers went to the convent, and, contrary to all precedent,
were admitted. They remained within all that day, and no one saw them
leave, but a sound of wheels passed through the street that evening. Next
day there were no signs of life about the place, nor the day following,
nor the next. The savage dog was quiet and the garden walks had gone
unswept. Some neighbors climbed over the wall and reported that the place
had been deserted. Why and by whom no one ever knew, but a cloud remained
upon its title until a recent day, for it was thought that at some time
the nuns might return.


A skull is built into the wall above the door of the court-house at
Goshen, New York. It was taken from a coffin unearthed in 1842, when the
foundation of the building was laid. People said there was no doubt about
it, only Claudius Smith could have worn that skull, and he deserved to be
publicly pilloried in that manner. Before the Revolutionary war Smith was
a farmer in Monroe, New York, and being prosperous enough to feel the
king's taxes no burden, to say nothing of his jealousy of the advantage
that an independent government would be to the hopes of his poorer
neighbors, he declared for the king. After the declaration of
independence had been published, his sympathies were illustrated in an
unpleasantly practical manner by gathering a troop of other Tories about
him, and, emboldened by the absence of most of the men of his vicinage in
the colonial army, he began to harass the country as grievously in foray
as the red-coats were doing in open field.

He pillaged houses and barns, then burned them; he insulted women, he
drove away cattle and horses, he killed several persons who had
undertaken to defend their property. His "campaigns" were managed with
such secrecy that nobody knew when or whence to look for him. His murder
of Major Nathaniel Strong, of Blooming Grove, roused indignation to such
a point that a united effort was made to catch him, a money reward for
success acting as a stimulus to the vigilance of the hunters, and at last
he was captured on Long Island. He was sent back to Goshen, tried,
convicted, and on January 22, 1779, was hanged, with five of his band.
The bodies of the culprits were buried in the jail-yard, on the spot
where the court-house stands, and old residents identified Smith's
skeleton, when it was accidentally exhumed, by its uncommon size. A
farmer from an adjacent town made off with a thigh bone, and a mason
clapped mortar into the empty skull and cemented it into the wall, where
it long remained.


Among the settlers in the Adirondacks, forty or fifty years ago, was
Henry Clymer, from Brooklyn, who went up to Little Black Creek and tried
to make a farm out of the gnarly, stumpy land; but being a green hand at
that sort of thing, he soon gave it up and put up the place near
Northwood, that is locally referred to as the haunted mill. When the
first slab was cut, a big party was on hand to cheer and eat pie in honor
of the Clymers, for Mr. Clymer, who was a dark, hearty, handsome fellow,
and his bright young wife had been liberal in their hospitality. The
couple had made some talk, they were so loving before folks--too loving
to last; and, besides, it was evident that Mrs. Clymer was used to a
better station in life than her husband. It was while the crowd was
laughing and chattering at the picnic-table of new boards from the mill
that Mrs. Clymer stole away to her modest little house, and a neighbor
who had followed her was an accidental witness to a singular episode.
Mrs. Clymer was kneeling beside her bed, crying over the picture of a
child, when Clymer entered unexpectedly and attempted to take the picture
from her.

She faced him defiantly. "You kept that because it looked like him, I
reckon," he said. "You might run back to him. You know what he'd call you
and where you'd stand with your aristocracy."

The woman pointed to the door, and the man left without another word, and
so did the listener. Next morning the body of Mrs. Clymer was found
hanging to a beam in the mill. At the inquest the husband owned that he
had "had a few words" with her on the previous day, and thought that she
must have suddenly become insane. The jury took this view. News of the
suicide was printed in some of the city papers, and soon after that the
gossips had another sensation, for a fair-haired man, also from Brooklyn,
arrived at the place and asked where the woman was buried. When he found
the grave he sat beside it for some time, his head resting on his hand;
then he inquired for Clymer, but Clymer, deadly pale, had gone into the
woods as soon as he heard that a stranger had arrived. The new-comer went
to Trenton, where he ordered a gravestone bearing the single word
"Estella" to be placed where the woman's body had been interred. Clymer
quickly sold out and disappeared. The mill never prospered, and has long
been in a ruinous condition. People of the neighborhood think that the
ghost of Mrs. Clymer--was that her name?--still troubles it, and they
pass the place with quickened steps.


On Lower Ausable Pond is a large, ruddy rock showing a huge profile, with
another, resembling a pappoose, below it. When the Tahawi ruled this
region their sachem lived here at "the Dark Cup," as they called this
lake, a man renowned for virtue and remarkable, in his age, for
gentleness. When his children had died and his manly grandson, who was
the old man's hope, had followed them to the land of the cloud mountains,
Adota's heart withered within him, and standing beneath this rock, he
addressed his people, recounting what he had done for them, how he had
swept their enemies from the Lakes of the Clustered Stars (the Lower
Saranac) and Silver Sky (Upper Saranac) to the Lake of Wandah, gaining a
land where they might hunt and fish in peace. The little one, the Star,
had been ravished away to crown the brow of the thunder god, who, even
now, was advancing across the peaks, bending the woods and lighting the
valleys with his jagged torches.

Life was nothing to him longer; he resigned it.

As he spoke these words he fell back, and the breath passed out of him.
Then came the thunder god, and with an appalling burst of fire sent the
people cowering. The roar that followed seemed to shake the earth, but
the medicine-man of the tribe stood still, listening to the speech of the
god in the clouds. "Tribe of the Tahawi," he translated, "Adota treads
the star-path to the happy hunting-grounds, and the sun is shining on his
heart. He will never walk among you again, but the god loves both him and
you, and he will set his face on the mountains. Look!" And, raising their
eyes, they beheld the likeness of Adota and of his beloved child, the
Star, graven by lightning-stroke on the cliff. There they buried the body
of Adota and held their solemn festivals until the white men drove them
out of the country.


In the middle of the last century a large body of Saranac Indians
occupied the forests of the Upper Saranac through which ran the Indian
carrying-place, called by them the Eagle Nest Trail. Whenever they raided
the Tahawi on the slopes of Mount Tahawus (Sky-splitter), there was a
pleasing rivalry between two young athletes, called the Wolf and the
Eagle, as to which would carry off the more scalps, and the tribe was
divided in admiration of them. There was one who did not share this
liking: an old sachem, one of the wizards who had escaped when the Great
Spirit locked these workers of evil in the hollow trees that stood beside
the trail. In their struggles to escape the less fortunate ones thrust
their arms through the closing bark, and they are seen there, as withered
trunks and branches, to this day. Oquarah had not been softened by this
exhibition of danger nor the qualification of mercy that allowed him
still to exist. Rather he was more bitter when he saw, as he fancied,
that the tribe thought more of the daring and powerful warriors than it
did of the bent and malignant-minded counsellor.

It was in the moon of green leaves that the two young men set off to hunt
the moose, and on the next day the Wolf returned alone. He explained that
in the hunt they had been separated; he had called for hours for his
friend, and had searched so long that he concluded he must have returned
ahead of him. But he was not at the camp. Up rose the sachem with visage
dark. "I hear a forked tongue," he cried. "The Wolf was jealous of the
Eagle and his teeth have cut into his heart."

"The Wolf cannot lie," answered the young man.

"Where is the Eagle?" angrily shouted the sachem, clutching his hatchet.

"The Wolf has said," replied the other.

The old sachem advanced upon him, but as he raised his axe to strike, the
wife of the Wolf threw herself before her husband, and the steel sank
into her brain. The sachem fell an instant later with the Wolf's knife in
his heart, and instantly the camp was in turmoil. Before the day had
passed it had been broken up, and the people were divided into factions,
for it was no longer possible to hold it together in peace. The Wolf,
with half of the people, went down the Sounding River to new
hunting-grounds, and the earth that separated the families was reddened
whenever one side met the other.

Years had passed when, one morning, the upper tribe saw a canoe advancing
across the Lake of the Silver Sky. An old man stepped from it: he was the
Eagle. After the Wolf had left him he had fallen into a cleft in a rock,
and had lain helpless until found by hunters who were on their way to
Canada. He had joined the British against the French, had married a
northern squaw, but had returned to die among the people of his early
love. Deep was his sorrow that his friend should have been accused of
doing him an injury, and that the once happy tribe should have been
divided by that allegation. The warriors and sachems of both branches
were summoned to a council, and in his presence they swore a peace, so
that in the fulness of time he was able to die content. That peace was
always kept.


It was during the years when the Saranacs were divided that Howling Wind,
one of the young men of Indian Carry, saw and fell in love with a girl of
the family on Tupper Lake. He quickly found a way to tell his liking, and
the couple met often in the woods and on the shore. He made bold to row
her around the quieter bays, and one moonlight evening he took her to
Devil's Rock, or Devil's Pulpit, where he told her the story of the
place. This was to the effect that the fiend had paddled, on timbers, by
means of his tail, to that rock, and had assembled fish and game about
him in large numbers by telling them that he was going to preach to them,
instead of which moral procedure he pounced upon and ate all that were
within his grasp.

As so often happened in Indian history, the return of these lovers was
seen by a disappointed rival, who had hurried back to camp and secured
the aid of half a dozen men to arrest the favored one as soon as he
should land. The capture was made after a struggle, and Howling Wind was
dragged to the chief's tent for sentence. That sentence was death, and
with a refinement of cruelty that was rare even among the Indians, the
girl was ordered to execute it. She begged and wept to no avail. An axe
was put into her hands, and she was ordered to despatch the prisoner. She
took the weapon; her face grew stern and the tears dried on her cheeks;
her lover, bound to a tree, gazed at her in amazement; his rival watched,
almost in glee. Slowly the girl crossed the open space to her lover. She
raised the tomahawk and at a blow severed the thongs that held him, then,
like a flash, she leaped upon his rival, who had sprung forward to
interfere, and clove his skull with a single stroke. The lovers fled as
only those can fly who run for life. Happily for them, they met a party
from the Carry coming to rescue Howling Wind from the danger to which his
courtship had exposed him, and it was even said that this party entered
the village and by presenting knives and arrows at the breast of the
chief obtained his now superfluous consent to the union of the fugitives.
The pair reached the Carry in safety and lived a long and happy life


Brightest flower that grows beside the brooks is the scarlet blossom of
the Indian plume: the blood of Lenawee. Hundreds of years ago she lived
happily among her brother and sister Saranacs beside Stony Creek, the
Stream of the Snake, and was soon to marry the comely youth who, for the
speed of his foot, was called the Arrow. But one summer the Quick Death
came on the people, and as the viewless devil stalked through the village
young and old fell before him. The Arrow was the first to die. In vain
the Prophet smoked the Great Calumet: its smoke ascending took no shape
that he could read. In vain was the white dog killed to take aloft the
people's sins. But at last the Great Spirit himself came down to the
mountain called the Storm Darer, splendid in lightning, awful in his
thunder voice and robe of cloud. "My wrath is against you for your sins,"
he cried, "and naught but human blood will appease it."

In the morning the Prophet told his message, and all sat silent for a
time. Then Lenawee entered the circle. "Lenawee is a blighted flower,"
she sobbed. "Let her blood flow for her people." And catching a knife
from the Prophet's belt, she ran with it to the stream on which she and
the Arrow had so often floated in their canoe. In another moment her
blood had bedewed the earth. "Lay me with the Arrow," she murmured, and,
smiling in their sad faces, breathed her last. The demon of the quick
death shrank from the spot, and the Great Spirit smiled once more on the
tribe that could produce such heroism. Lenawee's body was placed beside
her lover's, and next morning, where her blood had spilt, the ground was
pure, and on it grew in slender spires a new flower,--the Indian plume:
the transformed blood of sacrifice. The people loved that flower in all
years after. They decked their hair and dresses with it and made a feast
in its honor. When parents taught their children the beauty of
unselfishness they used as its emblem a stalk of Indian plume.


Back from his war against the Tahawi comes the Sun, chief of the Lower
Saranacs,--back to the Lake of the Clustered Stars, afterward called, by
dullards, Tupper's Lake. Tall and invincible he comes among his people,
boasting of his victories, Indian fashion, and stirring the scalps that
hang at his breast. "The Eagle screams," he cries. "He greets the chief,
the Blazing Sun. Wayotah has made the Tahawi tremble. They fly from him.
Hooh, hooh! He is the chief." Standing apart with wistful glance stands
Oseetah, the Bird. She loves the strong young chief, but she knows that
another has his promise, and she dares not hope; yet the chief loves her,
and when the feasting is over he follows her footprints to the shore,
where he sees her canoe turning the point of an island. He silently
pursues and comes upon her as she sits waving and moaning. He tries to
embrace her, but she draws apart. He asks her to sing to him; she bids
him begone.

He takes a more imperious tone and orders her to listen to her chief. She
moves away. He darts toward her. Turning on him a face of sorrow, she
runs to the edge of a steep rock and waves him back. He hastens after.
Then she springs and disappears in the deep water. The Sun plunges after
her and swims with mad strength here and there. He calls. There is no
answer. Slowly he returns to the village and tells the people what has
happened. The Bird's parents are stricken and the Sun moans in his sleep.
At noon a hunter comes in with strange tidings: flowers are growing on
the water! The people go to their canoes and row to the Island of Elms.
There, in a cove, the still water is enamelled with flowers, some as
white as snow, filling the air with perfume, others strong and yellow,
like the lake at sunset.

"Explain to us," they cry, turning to the old Medicine of his tribe, "for
this was not so yesterday."

"It is our daughter," he answered. "These flowers are the form she
takes. The white is her purity, the yellow her love. You shall see that
her heart will close when the sun sets, and will reopen at his coming."
And the young chief went apart and bowed his head.


The shores of Lakes George and Champlain were ravaged by war. Up and down
those lovely waters swept the barges of French and English, and the green
hills rang to the shrill of bugles, the boom of cannon, and the yell of
savages. Fiction and history have been weft across the woods and the
memory of deeds still echoes among the heights. It was at Glen's Falls,
in the cave on the rock in the middle of the river, that the brave Uncas
held the watch with Hawkeye. Bloody Defile and Bloody Pond, between there
and Lake George, take their names from the "Bloody morning scout" sent
out by Sir William Johnson on a September day in 1755 to check Dieskau
until Fort William Henry could be completed. In the action that ensued,
Colonel Williams, founder of Williams College, and Captain Grant, of the
Connecticut line, great-grandfather of the President who bore that name,
were killed. The victims, dead and wounded alike, having been flung into
Bloody Pond, it was thick and red for days, and tradition said that in
after years it resumed its hue of crimson at sunset and held it until
dawn. The captured, who were delivered to the Indians, had little to
hope, for their white allies could not stay their savagery. Blind Rock
was so called because the Indians brought a white man there, and tearing
his eyes out, flung them into embers at the foot of the stone. Captives
were habitually tortured, blazing splinters of pine being thrust into
their flesh, their nails torn out, and their bodies slashed with knives
before they went to the stake. An English prisoner was allowed to run the
gauntlet here. They had already begun to strike at him as he sped between
the lines, when he seized a pappoose, flung it on a fire, and, in the
instant of confusion that followed, snatched an axe, cut the bonds of a
comrade who had been doomed to die, and both escaped.

But the best-known history of this region is that of Rogers's Rock, or
Rogers's Slide, a lofty precipice at the lower end of Lake George. Major
Rogers did not toboggan down this rock in leather trousers, but his
escape was no less remarkable than if he had. On March 13, 1758, while
reconnoitring near Ticonderoga with two hundred rangers, he was surprised
by a force of French and Indians. But seventeen of his men escaped death
or capture, and he was pursued nearly to the brink of this cliff. During
a brief delay among the red men, arising from the loss of his trail, he
had time to throw his pack down the slide, reverse his snow-shoes, and go
back over his own track to the head of a ravine before they emerged from
the woods, and, seeing that his shoe-marks led to the rock, while none
pointed back, they concluded that he had flung himself off and committed
suicide to avoid capture. Great was their disappointment when they saw
the major on the frozen surface of the lake beneath going at a lively
rate toward Fort William Henry. He had gained the ice by way of the cleft
in the rocks, but the savages, believing that he had leaped over the
precipice, attributed his preservation to the Great Spirit and forbore to
fire on him. Unconsciously, he had chosen the best possible place to
disappear from, for the Indians held it in superstitious regard,
believing that spirits haunted the wood and hurled bad souls down the
cliff, drowning them in the lake, instead of allowing them to go to the
happy hunting grounds. The major reached his quarters in safety, and
lived to take up arms against the land of his birth when the colonies
revolted, seventeen years later.


When Occuna, a young Seneca, fell in love with a girl whose cabin was
near the present town of Cohoes, he behaved very much as Americans of a
later date have done. He picked wild flowers for her; he played on the
bone pipe and sang sentimental songs in the twilight; he roamed the hills
with her, gathering the loose quartz crystals that the Indians believed
to be the tears of stricken deer, save on Diamond Rock, in Lansingburgh,
where they are the tears of Moneta, a bereaved mother and wife; and in
fine weather they went boating on the Mohawk above the rapids. They liked
to drift idly on the current, because it gave them time to gaze into each
other's eyes, and to build air castles that they would live in in the
future. They were suddenly called to a realization of danger one evening,
for the stream had been subtly drawing them on and on until it had them
in its power. The stroke of the paddle failed and the air castles fell in
dismal ruin. Sitting erect they began their death-song in this wise:

Occuna: "Daughter of a mighty warrior, the Manitou calls me hence. I hear
the roaring of his voice; I see the lightning of his glance along the
river; he walks in clouds and spray upon the waters."

The Maiden: "Thou art thyself a warrior, O Occuna. Hath not thine axe
been often bathed in blood? Hath the deer ever escaped thine arrow or the
beaver avoided thy chase? Thou wilt not fear to go into the presence of

Occuna: "Manitou, indeed, respects the strong. When I chose thee from the
women of our tribe I promised that we should live and die together. The
Thunderer calls us now. Welcome, O ghost of Oriska, chief of the
invincible Senecas! A warrior and the daughter of a warrior come to join
you in the feast of the blessed!"

The boat leaped over the falls, and Occuna, striking on the rocks below,
was killed at once; but, as by a miracle, the girl fell clear of them and
was whirled on the seething current to shoal water, where she made her
escape. For his strength and his virtues the dead man was canonized. His
tribe raised him above the regions of the moon, whence he looked down on
the scenes of his youth with pleasure, and in times of war gave pleasant
dreams and promises to his friends, while he confused the enemy with evil
omens. Whenever his tribe passed the falls they halted and with brief
ceremonials commemorated the death of Occuna.


In Copake, New York, among the Berkshire Hills, less than a century ago,
lived Francis Woolcott, a dark, tall man, with protruding teeth, whose
sinister laugh used to give his neighbors a creep along their spines. He
had no obvious trade or calling, but the farmers feared him so that he
had no trouble in making levies: pork, flour, meal, cider, he could have
what he chose for the asking, for had he not halted horses at the plow so
that neither blows nor commands could move them for two hours? Had he not
set farmer Raught's pigs to walking on their hind legs and trying to
talk? When he shouted "Hup! hup! hup!" to farmer Williams's children, had
they not leaped to the moulding of the parlor wainscot,--a yard above the
floor and only an inch wide,--and walked around it, afterward skipping
like birds from chair-back to chair-back, while the furniture stood as if
nailed to the floor? And was he not the chief of thirteen night-riders,
whose faces no man had seen, nor wanted to see, and whom he sent about
the country on errands of mischief every night when the moon was growing
old? As to moons, had he not found a mystic message from our satellite on
Mount Riga, graven on a meteor?

Horses' tails were tied, hogs foamed at the mouth and walked like men,
cows gave blood for milk. These night-riders met Woolcott in a grove of
ash and chestnut trees, each furnished with a stolen bundle of oat straw,
and these bundles Woolcott changed to black horses when the night had
grown dark enough not to let the way of the change be seen. These horses
could not cross streams of water, and on the stroke of midnight they fell
to pieces and were oaten sheaves once more, but during their time of
action they rushed through woods, bearing their riders safely, and tore
like hurricanes across the fields, leaping bushes, fences, even trees,
without effort. Never could traces be found of them the next day. At last
the devil came to claim his own. Woolcott, who was ninety years old, lay
sick and helpless in his cabin. Clergymen refused to see him, but two or
three of his neighbors stifled their fears and went to the wizard's house
to soothe his dying moments. With the night came storm, and with its
outbreak the old man's face took on such a strange and horrible look that
the watchers fell back in alarm. There was a burst of purple flame at the
window, a frightful peal, a smell of sulphur, and Woolcott was dead. When
the watchers went out the roads were dry, and none in the village had
heard wind, rain, or thunder. It was the coming of the fiend.


In about the middle of this century a withered woman of ninety was buried
from a now deserted house in White Plains, New York, Polly Carter the
name of her, but "Crazy Polly" was what the neighbors called her, for she
was eccentric and not fond of company. Among the belongings of her house
was a tall clock, such as relic hunters prize, that ticked solemnly in a
landing on the stairs.

For a time, during the Revolution, the house stood within the British
lines, and as her father was a colonel in Washington's army she was left
almost alone in it. The British officers respected her sex, but they had
an unpleasant way of running in unannounced and demanding entertainment,
in the king's name, which she felt forced to grant. One rainy afternoon
the door was flung open, then locked on the inside, and she found herself
in the arms of a stalwart, handsome lieutenant, who wore the blue. It was
her cousin and fiance. Their glad talk had not been going long when there
came a rousing summons at the door. Three English officers were awaiting

Perhaps they had seen Lawrence Carter go into the house, and if caught he
would be killed as a spy. He must be hidden, but in some place where they
would not think of looking. The clock! That was the place. With a laugh
and a kiss the young man submitted to be shut in this narrow quarter, and
throwing his coat and hat behind some furniture the girl admitted the
officers, who were wet and surly and demanded dinner. They tramped about
the best room in their muddy boots, talking loudly, and in order to break
the effect of the chill weather they passed the brandy bottle freely.
Polly served them with a dinner as quickly as possible, for she wanted to
get them out of the house, but they were in no mood to go, and the bottle
passed so often that before the dinner was over they were noisy and tipsy
and were using language that drove Polly from the room.

At last, to her relief, she heard them preparing to leave the house, but
as they were about to go the senior officer, looking up at the landing,
now dim in the paling light, said to one of the others, "See what time it
is." The officer addressed, who happened to be the drunkest of the party,
staggered up the stair and exclaimed, "The d---d thing's stopped." Then,
as if he thought it a good joke, he added, "It'll never go again."
Drawing his sabre he gave the clock a careless cut and ran the blade
through the panel of the door; after this the three passed out. When
their voices had died in distant brawling, Polly ran to release her
lover. Something thick and dark was creeping from beneath the clock-case.
With trembling fingers she pulled open the door, and Lawrence, her lover,
fell heavily forward into her arms, dead. The officer was right: the
clock never went again.


It was at the Jay house, in Westchester, New York, that Enoch Crosby met
Washington and offered his services to the patriot army. Crosby was a
cobbler, and not a very thriving one, but after the outbreak of
hostilities he took a peddler's outfit on his back and, as a
non-combatant, of Tory sympathies, he obtained admission through the
British lines. After his first visit to head quarters it is certain that
he always carried Sir Henry Clinton's passport in the middle of his pack,
and so sure were his neighbors that he was in the service of the British
that they captured him and took him to General Washington, but while his
case was up for debate he managed to slip his handcuffs, which were not
secure, and made off. Clinton, on the other hand, was puzzled by the
unaccountable foresight of the Americans, for every blow that he prepared
to strike was met, and he lost time and chance and temper. As if the
suspicion of both armies and the hatred of his neighbors were not enough
to contend against, Crosby now became an object of interest to the
Skinners and Cowboys, who were convinced that he was making money,
somehow, and resolved to have it.

The Skinners were camp-followers of the American troops and the Cowboys a
band of Tories and renegade British. Both factions were employed,
ostensibly, in foraging for their respective armies, but, in reality, for
themselves, and the farmers and citizens occupying the neutral belt north
of Manhattan Island had reason to curse them both impartially. While
these fellows were daring thieves, they occasionally got the worst of it,
even in the encounters with the farmers, as on the Neperan, near
Tarrytown, where the Cowboys chased a woman to death, but were afterward
cut to pieces by the enraged neighbors. Hers is but one of the many
ghosts that haunt the neutral ground, and the croaking of the birds of
ill luck that nest at Raven rock is blended with the cries of her dim
figure. Still, graceless as these fellows were, they affected a loyalty
to their respective sides, and were usually willing to fight each other
when they met, especially for the plunder that was to be got by fighting.

In October, 1780, Claudius Smith, "king of the Cowboys," and three
scalawag sons came to the conclusion that it was time for Crosby's money
to revert to the crown, and they set off toward his little house one
evening, sure of finding him in, for his father was seriously ill. The
Smiths arrived there to find that the Skinners had preceded them on the
same errand, and they recognized through the windows, in the leader of
the band, a noted brigand on whose head a price was laid. He was
searching every crack and cranny of the room, while Crosby, stripped to
shirt and trousers, stood before the empty fireplace and begged for that
night to be left alone with his dying father.

"To hell with the old man!" roared the Skinner. "Give up your gold, or
we'll put you to the torture," and he significantly whirled the end of a
rope that he carried about his waist. At that moment the faint voice of
the old man was heard calling from another room.

"Take all that I have and let me go!" cried Crosby, and turning up a
brick in the fire-place he disclosed a handful of gold, his life savings.
The leader still tried to oppose his exit, but Crosby flung him to the
floor and rushed away to his father, while the brigand, deeming it well
to delay rising, dug his fingers into the hollow and began to extract the
sovereigns. At that instant four muskets were discharged from without:
there was a crash of glass, a yell of pain, and four of the Skinners
rolled bleeding on the floor; two others ran into the darkness and
escaped; their leader, trying to follow, was met at the threshold by the
Smiths, who clutched the gold out of his hand and pinioned his elbows in
a twinkling.

"I thought ye'd like to know who's got ye," said old Smith, peering into
the face of the astonished and crestfallen robber, "for I've told ye many
a time to keep out of my way, and now ye've got to swing for getting into

Within five minutes of the time that he had got his clutch on Crosby's
money the bandit was choking to death at the end of his own rope, hung
from the limb of an apple-tree, and, having secured the gold, the Cowboys
went their way into the darkness. Crosby soon made his appearance in the
ranks of the Continentals, and, though they looked askant at him for a
time, they soon discovered the truth and hailed him as a hero, for the
information he had carried to Washington from Clinton's camp had often
saved them from disaster. He had survived attack in his own house through
the falling out of rogues, and he survived the work and hazard of war
through luck and a sturdy frame. Congress afterwards gave him a sum of
money larger than had been taken from him, for his chief had commended
him in these lines: "Circumstances of political importance, which
involved the lives and fortunes of many, have hitherto kept secret what
this paper now reveals. Enoch Crosby has for years been a faithful and
unrequited servant of his country. Though man does not, God may reward
him for his conduct. GEORGE WASHINGTON."

Associated with Crosby in his work of getting information from the enemy
was a man named Gainos, who kept an inn on the neutral ground, that was
often raided. Being assailed by Cowboys once, Gainos, with his tenant and
stable-boys, fired at the bandits together, just as the latter had forced
his front door, then stepping quickly forward he slashed off the head of
the leader with a cutlass. The retreating crew dumped the body into a
well on the premises, and there it sits on the crumbling curb o' nights
looking disconsolately for its head.

It may also be mentioned that the Skinners had a chance to revenge
themselves on the Cowboys for their defeat at the Crosby house. They fell
upon the latter at the tent-shaped cave in Yonkers,--it is called
Washington's Cave, because the general napped there on bivouac,--and not
only routed them, but secured so much of their treasure that they were
able to be honest for several years after.


Failure to mark the resting-places of great men and to indicate the
scenes of their deeds has led to misunderstanding and confusion among
those who discover a regard for history and tradition in this practical
age. Robert Fulton, who made steam navigation possible, lies in an
unmarked tomb in the yard of Trinity Church--the richest church in
America. The stone erected to show where Andre was hanged was destroyed
by a cheap patriot, who thought it represented a compliment to the spy.
The spot where Alexander Hamilton was shot in the duel by Aaron Burr is
known to few and will soon be forgotten. It was not until a century of
obloquy had been heaped on the memory of Thomas Paine that his once
enemies were brought to know him as a statesman of integrity, a
philanthropist, and philosopher. His deistic religion, proclaimed in "The
Age of Reason," is unfortunately no whit more independent than is
preached in dozens of pulpits to-day. He died ripe in honors, despite his
want of creed, and his mortal part was buried in New Rochelle, New York,
under a large walnut-tree in a hay-field. Some years later his friends
removed the body to a new grave in higher ground, and placed over it a
monument that the opponents of his principles quickly hacked to pieces.
Around the original grave there still remains a part of the old
inclosure, and it was proposed to erect a suitable memorial--the Hudson
and its Hills the spot, but the owner of the tract would neither give nor
sell an inch of his land for the purpose of doing honor to the man. Some
doubt has already been expressed as to whether the grave is beneath the
monument or in the inclosure; and it is also asserted that Paine's ghost
appears at intervals, hovering in the air between the two burial-places,
or flitting back and forth from one to the other, lamenting the
forgetfulness of men and wailing, "Where is my grave? I have lost my


Gouverneur Morris, American minister to the court of Louis XVI, was
considerably enriched, at the close of the reign of terror, by plate,
jewels, furniture, paintings, coaches, and so on, left in his charge by
members of the French nobility, that they might not be confiscated in the
sack of the city by the _sans culottes_; for so many of the aristocracy
were killed and so many went into exile or disguised their names, that it
was impossible to find heirs or owners for these effects. Some of the
people who found France a good country to be out of came to America,
where adventurers had found prosperity and refugees found peace so many
times before. Marshal Ney and Bernadotte are alleged to have served in
the American army during the Revolution, and at Hogansburg, New York, the
Reverend Eleazer Williams, an Episcopal missionary, who lies buried in
the church-yard there, was declared to be the missing son of Louis XVI.
The question, "Have we a Bourbon among us?" was frequently canvassed; but
he avoided publicity and went quietly on with his pastoral work.

All property left in Mr. Morris's hands that had not been claimed was
removed to his mansion at Port Morris, when he returned from his
ministry, and he gained in the esteem and envy of his neighbors when the
extent of these riches was seen. Once, at the wine, he touched glasses
with his wife, and said that if she bore a male child that son should be
heir to his wealth. Two relatives who sat at the table exchanged looks at
this and cast a glance of no gentle regard on his lady. A year went by.
The son was born, but Gouverneur Morris was dead.

It is the first night of the year 1817, the servants are asleep, and the
widow sits late before the fire, her baby in her arms, listening betimes
to the wind in the chimney, the beat of hail on the shutters, the
brawling of the Bronx and the clash of moving ice upon it; yet thinking
of her husband and the sinister look his promise had brought to the faces
of his cousins, when a tramp of horses is heard without, and anon a
summons at the door. The panels are beaten by loaded riding-whips, and a
man's voice cries, "Anne Morris, fetch us our cousin's will, or we'll
break into the house and take it." The woman clutches the infant to her
breast, but makes no answer. Again the clatter of the whips; but now a
mist is gathering in the room, and a strange enchantment comes over her,
for are not the lions breathing on the coat of arms above the door, and
are not the portraits stirring in their frames?

They are, indeed. There is a rustle of robes and clink of steel and one
old warrior leaps down, his armor sounding as he alights, and striking
thrice his sword and shield together he calls on Gouverneur Morris to
come forth. Somebody moves in the room where Morris died; there is a
measured footfall in the corridor, with the clank of a scabbard keeping
time; the door is opened, and on the blast that enters the widow hears a
cry, then a double gallop, passing swiftly into distance. As she gazes,
her husband appears, apparelled as in life, and with a smile he takes a
candelabrum from the mantel and, beckoning her to follow, moves from room
to room. Then, for the first time, the widow knows to what wealth her
baby has been born, for the ghost discloses secret drawers in escritoires
where money, title deeds, and gems are hidden, turns pictures and
wainscots on unsuspected hinges, revealing shelves heaped with fabrics,
plate, and lace; then, returning to the fireside, he stoops as if to kiss
his wife and boy, but a bell strikes the first hour of morning and he
vanishes into his portrait on the wall.

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